The Detroit Tigers will have another season with none of their games broadcast on free-to-air television. The Detroit News’ Lynn Henning knows who’s to blame.
Believing the Tigers and a local TV station would hook up again in 2006 might have been a bad assumption. Ditto for thoughts that, even if the Tigers and Channel 50 came to another impasse, FSN Detroit would come to the rescue — of the cable audience, anyway — with additional telecasts.
Wrong, and double wrong.
There might be no “free” television in 2006. Likewise, FSN Detroit is picking up no more telecasts in 2006 — 114 — than it did in 2005.
You can put this one on Tigers owner Mike Ilitch.
It is known among informed local TV people that the Tigers and Channel 50 didn’t do business for much the same reasons talks broke down a year ago: negotiations dawdled, and the Tigers were asking for stiff rights-fees, issues which became academic when the Tigers and Channel 50 never talked past some late-autumn 2005 conversations.
This is not a new problem, although it should have been an old one. Other teams and their local media outlets seem always to get business deals tied up in reasonable time and in ways that benefit both parties. Detroit, alas, is a different
The Tigers are notorious for having been latecomers to the table. It was the biggest reason why Channel 50 had to say sayonara a year ago. A television station needs, at some point, to get on with its programming life. Why Ilitch fails, annually, to understand this is hard to fathom.
Channel 50 ran into another dead-end during the offseason. Net result: Those folks who can’t swallow a monthly cable bill — and they are many — can stretch their imaginations and visualize what the field and the players look like as they tune into Dan Dickerson and Jim Price on local radio. That is, assuming you’re in one of those areas where radio reception along the Tigers network isn’t fuzzy or non-existent.