Below is a news summary by Kat Spellman, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University.
(from Sports Buisness Journal-April 2, 2012) As any baseball fan knows, the playoffs are an extremely important time, a time that cannot be missed. This knowledge has prompted the MLB to consider drastic changes that could affect the future of the fan experience for years to come. The wild card games have long been considered some of the most riveting and enjoyable games of the playoffs, and now the MLB is considering who will get exclusive rights to broadcast these two games to the general public, not lucky enough to attend.
In past years TBS has always been lucky enough to secure the rights to broadcast the wildcard game, along with other big games, however this next year could be different. With deals expiring, the MLB is considering many changes, possibly even broadcasting these games themselves, on the MLB network. This network is in fact the only cable network to be owned by a major league team, thus diminishing the need for games to be broadcast on other networks. Could the MLB seriously be considering exclusively broadcasting on their own network, and eliminating all others such as ESPN and TBS? It doesn’t look as though that is going to happen any time soon, but it is not completely out of the question. When asked if the MLB network was going to exclusively air the wildcard games, Tim Bronson, the MLB’s Executive Vice President of Business said, “I didn’t say that,” in reference to weather the big games the MLB network was planning on broadcasting included the wildcard games.
While no decisions have been made at this time, it simply looks as though the MLB is in for a lot of changes when it comes to broadcasting. While many of those changes could be for the better, it is also just as likely that many of those changes could end up upsetting many fans, who will be highly disappointed by the mess that will be created if they will no longer be able to see the games that they choose to watch on the networks that they have grown accustom to watching games on.