Believe me, I know that Major League Baseball and its sponsors aren’t in the world of professional sports to make me happy. It’s about money - I get it. In general, blackout rules are fairly straightforward and understandable when it comes to professional sports. As a passionately displaced Minnesota Twins fan, my dream to watch my favorite baseball team every day/night came true with the evolution of MLB.TV. I knew there were strings attached like the $20-25 fee (it used to be a little cheaper, but hey, when it rains it pours I guess) and the blackout rules that I was forced to abide by.
I knew this going in on this investment of my time and money. I knew that if a Twins game was being played in my local market (where I was located at the time I was trying to watch the game), I had to watch the game on the local TV broadcast. Makes complete sense to me - watch the local broadcast, see the ads that the sponsors paid for, MLB/local team makes money. However, there is a wildcard of blackout rules that are thrown into the MLB.TV mix which I have yet to encounter anywhere else. Several Saturdays (if not all) during the summer baseball season are owned by the national broadcasts of Fox Sports in which (usually) three different games are shown to different segments of the United States. I’m sure Fox determines who watches what based on how popular the games are going to be in the designated regions, and I’m sure they try to appeal to as big of market as possible.
So for example, it was my (dis)pleasure to see that the Yankees/Red Sox game today was shown in my region, and I was incapable to follow the Twins/Rangers game through any other means than radio feeds (which I do love for things like car rides) or MLB.com gameday. Not exactly the best way to sit down and relax by listening to the radio on my computer or following a slow play-by-play description attempting to get excited when I see a computer-generated player getting thrown virtual pitches.
Now, as I said, I knew this going in when I purchased MLB.TV, and I’ve had this complaint for several years now. I just never understood why MLB would ever attempt to force me to watch a game I have little to no interest in by enforcing some questionable blackout rules. To make it worse, even after the game’s conclusion - having taken time out to avoid any possible way that I would find out the results of the game before watching - I was still only able to listen to the radio broadcast of the contest (this is the first time I’ve encountered this issue). So now not only could I not see the live broadcast of the game that I wanted (and PAID for), I couldn’t even watch an archive of it when I wanted.
I eventually just gave up and looked at the score. It was a dissapointing loss for sure, so I’m not that upset that I didn’t get to watch. However, I am still struggling to understand why the MLB thinks that trying forcing people to watch a game that they don’t care about is going to make them more money. I actually think it makes me less inclined to think about baseball throughout the day.
I just wish someone could explain what the League’s/Fox’s rationalization is in terms of blacking out what fans want to watch no matter where they are.
Oh well, I’m sure I’ll deal with it because this is, after all, a love affair with your team.