For those unfamiliar with what that means, in an agreement made between the owners in the dark ages, they agreed to divide up the country geographically giving teams the broadcast rights to large swaths of territory that they then control whether their game can be shown there or not. This might make some sense in the Northeast, but in the west it's totally insane.
When I lived in Boston I understood why I couldn't watch the New York feed when the Yankees were playing the Red Sox. That makes sense because the Red Sox want me to watch commercials for Boston, and make them money, rather than making the Yankees money. But I could still watch the game! And when the Yankees were playing anywhere else I could watch the Yankee feed. But that is not the case with the Diamondbacks.
|MLB Broadcast Black-Out Map*|
Why? Because the Diamondbacks "broadcast territory" includes all of the state of New Mexico, and so we are perpetually blacked out. I can't even watch them when they are on ESPN. They are always not on television, because heaven forbid that I might decide to go to the game, but then decide not to because I can watch them on TV instead. Now to demonstrate the stupidity of this rule.
We currently live in Albuquerque. If I suddenly had the urge to go to a game I would either a) have to drive seven hours to get there, or b) drive to the airport and catch a 1-hour flight to Phoenix. The current airfare to do that on Southwest would be $493, round-trip. So if I wanted to take my whole family, we would spend $2000 on airfare for our last minute decision, not counting the cost of the tickets, food and transportation. Not really going to happen.
But, you might say, it's at least possible, and yes it is, so let's broaden it out a little bit. My last church was 45 minutes from the Texas border. So to do that same scenario, we would have added another 3 hours driving to get to the airport in Albuquerque, or 2 hours to go to Lubbock, plus an extra $100-$150 more for the plane ticket, and it was still blacked out.
Now here is the bigger problem for the Diamondbacks, and really for MLB as a whole. I want my daughters to be baseball fans. We get the MLB package so that we can watch as much baseball as we can, and in particular watch all the Yankees games, which we do. I was born and grew up in Phoenix, and even though I left before the Diamondbacks existed, they are still my "hometown" team. It would be nice for my daughters to have a rooting interest for them, and maybe even become fans, but you know what, they never will be because they never, ever get to see the Diamondbacks play. Ever.
That means that when we are planning vacations, they are never going to say, "hey, let's go to Phoenix to see the Diamondbacks play." They are never going to ask for any Diamondbacks jerseys, hats, socks, lunch bags, etc. Which means the Diamondbacks are never going to make money from us, and my daughters are never going to be fans of them. But they do talk about the Yankees and ask for those things, why? Because that is who I root for and it is the team they see all the time.
I heard yesterday that the average age of baseball fans is 53. If the MLB want to make fans of a new generation, one of the things they need to do is to abolish the stupid way they televise games, because most people are not like me, they are not paying to have access to nearly every MLB game being broadcast, and so children are not seeing these games, and unless the live in the immediate vicinity they are not watching the games of teams that might mean something to them.
*You might notice that I am also blacked out from Rockies games, but I don't care about the Rockies, although maybe I would if I could see their games. In my last church I was also blacked out from the Rangers, so even though I was minimum 8 hours from any of these teams I could not see them. And if you live in Vegas, forget about seeing anyone.