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Thursday, February 05, 2009

Will MLB's Stupid Blackout Rules Ever Get Fixed?

Maury Brown's Magic 8-Ball says no:
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 “haircut 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.

Seriously? Seriously? Advertisers are really dumb enough to pay for eyeballs they aren't reaching? Maybe we should say that broadcasters are dumb enough to pay for carry provisions to eyeballs they aren't reaching, because this mainly affects regional sports networks like Fox Sports West and its brethren (NESN, YES, Comcast Sports, etc.). Such a move would probably entail reworking existing contracts, and in this environment, nobody wants to go there.

Via BTF.

Update 2/9: Thanks for the link, Al.

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