As if we needed another reminder John Kerry wasn’t elected president, the Biz Of Baseball’s Maury Brown writes, “the sad reality for those living outside of the markets where their favorite team broadcasts is that odds are very good that this year “ like the year before, and the year before that “ will have the same MLB blackout policy that has aggravated fans shelling out nearly $200 each season with the idea that they will be able to ‘catch all the action.'”
The chances of any movement on the blackout policy becomes ever more remote as the season approaches, and owners deal with a case of tunnel vision regarding economic factors. To place this in perspective, the last owners meetings had George Will talk about the economy, while the blackout policy took a back seat.
Word is that MLB hopes to have a proposal to address the arcane blackout policy formulated by opening day. With owners grasping onto every thin dime, odds seem exceptionally long that restructuring the television territories will take place by the time the first pitch arrives on the 2009 season. MLB president and COO Bob DuPuy has said that the proposal being presented would have a club lose a portion of their television territory, if they have not broadcast within it for over a year.
The potential problem with this model deals with what are called œhaircut provisions “ advertising agreements that are tied to audience size. So, in principle, even though a club may not be broadcasting in an area of their granted television territory, the total audience size is still considered within it. Removing the areas not being broadcasted to would, ostensibly, make the audience size smaller, thus impacting ad deals.