Friday, August 08, 2008
MLB Ponders Elimination Of Blackout Restrictions
At the owners’ meetings Wednesday, DuPuy said he will propose that if a team is not broadcasting in a geographic location for at least one season, it loses the right to black out games in that area. Gone would be the blackouts that prevent folks in Iowa and Las Vegas from seeing as many as six games each night and have caused viewing havoc throughout the country.This would be great if it passes. The final frontier would be fixing the stupidity that says we can't watch Fox Saturday games on Extra Innings (it's vexing to Helen that we can't get the Cubs games when Fox has something else going locally), and the infrequent Sunday night games in Texas that sometimes conflict with ESPN's national Sunday Night Game of the Week.
“I see no reason why there ought to be so many clubs able to black out in those territories,” DuPuy said. “That’s my intention. That’s my goal. I didn’t get any pushback. The whole thing is about making the game more popular and available.”
“I don’t think it hurts anybody,” he said. “Although I will say, I attended a meeting almost a year ago. Our broadcast people raised a whole bunch of hobgoblins. There are a bunch of esoteric rules. But I think we’ll be able to get past them.”
The biggest issue, DuPuy said, concerned so-called “haircut provisions.” Because television contracts tie advertising dollars to audience size, any potential shift in a coverage area could trigger issues. DuPuy’s staff pored over the 30 teams’ local television contracts last week and has yet to determine how potential conflicts would affect his plan.