MLB Should Renegotiate Playoff TV Contracts Now

Chaz MattsonAnalyst IOctober 11, 2008

For the benefit of Mr. Kite

Major League Baseball should broadcast the playoff games on national TV

Isn’t that how the old Beatles song went?  Just passing John Lennon’s Birthday this past week it’s a good time to honor one of the all-time greats.  It would be even greater if Major League Baseball would honor itself and the fan base by putting the entire post season on the national networks. 

Since MLB recently negotiated post-season contracts with FOX and TBS the ratings are way down.  The deal has FOX broadcasting the NLCS in even numbered years and TBS has it in odd numbered years and vice-versa for the ALCS. 

Regardless of what MLB would have the average viewer believe, the fact that last year’s NLCS only was big in Colorado and Arizona, this year’s ALCS is only big in Bean town and Tampa. 

The issue at hand is that TBS is not a national affiliate, they should be but they are not, they are only a cable affiliate.  This has a crippling effect on what could normally be a great broadcast of historical games. 

It’s sort of like the tree in the woods that falls.  If the game was on TBS, was there one?  Well there was if you care enough to visit a local pub or pay premium fees on some cable bills to see the games.  The tragedy that happens here is that Major League Baseball takes its Lamborghini and parks it in the garage for much of the fan base every time it puts a major broadcast on TBS. 

It’s really too bad because the TBS crew is great, the presentation is every bit the broadcast of FOX and even more so online with its extended coverage.  The problem is its signal transmitted, message not received in some homes that would normally be watching.  In a down economy more people will be flipping off the cable switch and who will be watching the MLB telecast? 

As it stands, Major League Baseball has issued these contracts through the 2013 season however the fans lose out and MLB will start to lose more of its market with the fans because of stunts like this. 

One of two things should happen to resolve the issue.  These contracts should be renegotiated and pulled off of TBS entirely or they should be TBS’s number one advocate to having TBS go national as FOX has done. 

At the very least MLB should open it up for free online so they can admit to the PR problem in not making the games available to the entire fan base.  The problem is simply stated; if MLB nationally broadcast it they will come.