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FOX may make its Game of the Week to 100% prime time next year

May 14, 2010, 4:24 PM EDT

old TV.jpgFOX will air a handful of its Saturday games in prime time this year, and if it works they move the whole shebang into prime time next year, USA Today reports (Stop gawking at Erin Andrews and scroll down to the second story).

If they do that, they’re thinking about doing more renationalized games as opposed to the maybe two or three games they divy up across the country now. The thinking: prime time means better ratings and going more regional draws in more metropolitan areas, also leading to better ratings.

This may all work for FOX and might be better than the current day game setup, but I’m struggling to see how a national game of the week — even if its chopped up into a few regions — really accomplishes in this day and age.

Baseball is far more local a thing than the other sports, and unlike 15 or 20 years ago, nearly every baseball team is covered by a RSN of some kind that broadcasts virtually all of its games to its local area. Baseball obsessives like me, on the other hand, have the option of getting MLB.tv or Extra Innings to watch virtually every single game there is.  There doesn’t seem to be a lot of unmet demand for baseball broadcasts.

What does the national broadcast add?  Especially in light of baseball’s blackout rules. If Fox moves into the evening on a regular basis and the current rules stay in effect, there will be fewer games available to fans in the aggregate, and that rubs me the wrong way. It’d be less of a problem if fans could — as they do during ESPN’s weeknight broadcasts — switch between the national game and the local game at their leisure, but I doubt that’s in the cards with respect to the FOX games.

I’ll admit, I’m a simple caveman and the ways of broadcasting frighten and confuse me, so I might just be missing something critical here. It strikes me, however, that national broadcasts during the regular season are an anachronism. The casual fans have all of their home team’s games. The nuts have all 15 games a night. All of these games are being broadcast by knowledgeable and, for the most part, competent local crews. Why do I need Buck and McCarver and those guys in my living room once a week?

  1. RichardInDallas - May 14, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    Sorry, Craig, gawking at Erin Andrews is NOT a voluntary action, it’s instinctive, and would take generations of training to overcome…

  2. Jason @ IIATMS - May 14, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    sorry, you were saying?

  3. Jason @ IIATMS - May 14, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    sorry, you were saying?

  4. Tom - May 14, 2010 at 4:50 PM

    I for one am a fan of anything that will get more Red Sox-Yankee games on tv. Just because I live in San Diego is no reason to expect me to want to watch Padre games.

  5. tjw - May 14, 2010 at 4:53 PM

    I can only see bad things coming out of mass regionalization. Sorry, FOX, I may be in the Kansas City viewing area, but I’m not staying home to watch a Royals-A’s game on a Saturday night. I would probably stay home to watch my Twins play anyone. But I never watch Fox’s Saturday broadcast unless my team is on it. Making it even tougher to watch my team play won’t endear them to me at all.

  6. YankeesfanLen - May 14, 2010 at 4:55 PM

    What I really hate about this is the confusion of start times. It’s bad enough the Universe has to start at 3 on a Saturday, I have no use for 7 (or8).If I get on the phone quick enough, maybe I can talk Chuck Schumer in to making this his “sound byte” of the weekend- I’ve got it, I’ll tell him Channel 5 will have a game on instead of his usual pandering for votes weekend outrage.

  7. Gawker - May 14, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Erin Andrews Erin Andrews Erin Andrews {baseball} Erin Andrews Erin Andrews {Fox} Erin Andrews Erin Andrews {baseball} Erin Andrews {Fox} Erin Andrews Erin Andrews is a Fox – oh yeah, you’re right, I get your point!

  8. Geoff - May 14, 2010 at 6:17 PM

    My first reaction upon reading the headline was “they’re messing around with my flexibility on night games through the MLB Extra Innings package”. I’m glad you brought that up. When FOX does national games, all others are blacked out and our choice is revoked. It doesn’t matter if you’ve paid for the MLB package or not. Obviously, I think is a terrible idea from the fans’ perspective but I can’t recall the last time the fans’ opinion actually mattered anyway.

  9. Brian - May 14, 2010 at 7:14 PM

    I was actually thinking about how out-of-date the Game of the Week concept is the other day when I was reading about the ill-fated National Baseball Network from the mid-90s. For as long as I can remember (possibly since inception, but I don’t go back that far) every single Met game during the season aired, and then that split NBC/ABC nonsense happened and there were Met games that simply weren’t aired because there were other games being aired that night.
    I’m sure there are some people that appreciate the Fox broadcasts because they can’t see their team all the time and can’t afford Extra Innings, but that number has got to be dwindling.
    And the biggest problem that Craig touched on, is that national games, whether they’re on Fox, ESPN, TBS, or the MLB Network have generic announce teams. When you follow a team obsessively, the last thing any fan wants is to listen to a couple of announcers who don’t follow the team and routinely say things that are stupid, if not flat out wrong, about your team. The Mets played the Cardinals on a Sunday night game earlier this year. The entire broadcast revolved around Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS. It’s 3.5 years later, but I had to listen to it for three hours as if it just happened.
    End rant.

  10. Chris - May 14, 2010 at 8:22 PM

    Fox needs to change its policy of broadcasting up to 4 games at once and allowing affiliates to pick which games get aired….it usually means we’re left with the Yankees, Red Sox, or Mets. Fox needs to do what ESPN does and air one game at a time.
    Fox could also get rid of blowhard Joe Buck as well….but they’ve decided to make him the face of their coverage. Sickening.

  11. Matt - May 14, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    Not all the nuts have the package. As I recall, you didn’t have it either this time last year. I, for one, enjoy the Fox broadcasts. At least it’s not Miller & Morgan, right?

  12. GimmeSomeSteel - May 15, 2010 at 4:12 AM

    “the last thing any fan wants is to listen to a couple of announcers who don’t follow the team and routinely say things that are stupid, if not flat out wrong, about your team.”
    Right. I want to listen to a couple of announcers who follow only one team, routinely saying things that are stupid, if not flat out wrong, about both teams. Well, that’s what I get here!

  13. Steve - May 15, 2010 at 6:47 AM

    Some of us still don’t pay for cable….

  14. edect - May 20, 2010 at 9:04 PM

    Where did this clown learn to write? “This may all work for FOX and might be better than the current day game setup, but I’m struggling to see how a national game of the week — even if its chopped up into a few regions — really accomplishes in this day and age.”…HOW a national game of the week really accomplishes anything??? Shouldn’t it read WHAT a national game of the week accomplishes? Holy cow, this is NBC for God’s sake. Does anyone proof read? Of course, this is such basic writing it shouldn’t be required, but for this guy it is. Then, there’s this: nearly every baseball team is covered by a RSN. Sheesh! It’s AN RSN, not A RSN. Can I please get a job with you guys? Please??? I guarantee I can write better than this.

  15. Bob - May 22, 2010 at 8:03 PM

    Dont understand why anyone would live in SD and follow the Red Sox-Yankees. Boston/NY is a regional rivalry not a national one. You guys can have your east coast baseball and I’ll take west coast baseball since I am on the west coast.

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