Monday, May 16, 2011

The MLB Blackout Policy

Apparently the Brewer game this Saturday against the Rockies, which starts at 6:10 CST (7:10 EST) will be blacked out because Fox is moving several National games into the Saturday prime time slot, and they have exclusive rights to broadcast games. At least, that's what I read here, via here.

That's pretty annoying. I'm not even sure what the national game is, but if you're a Brewer fan I'm sure you don't care what it is if the Brewers are playing at the same time.

I have a question for Fox and for MLB. This is your blackout policy, quoted directly from the FAQ portion of MLB.com. I have emphasized some important language:

Due to Major League Baseball exclusivities, live games occurring each Saturday with a scheduled start time after 1:10 PM ET or before 7:05 PM ET and each Sunday with a scheduled start time after 5:00 PM ET, will be blacked out in the United States (including the territories of Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands). In addition, in the event of extraordinary circumstances that produce a programming conflict, the above blackout windows may be subject to change. If you are an MLB.TV Premium subscriber outside of the United States, each of these games will be available as an archived game as soon as possible after the conclusion of the applicable game. If you are an MLB.TV Premium subscriber within the United States or an MLB.TV subscriber in any territory, each of these games will be available as an archived game approximately 90 minutes after the conclusion of the applicable game. Archived games are not available through MLB.com Gameday Audio.


7:05 EST is 6:05 CST. The Brewer game on Saturday starts at 7:10 EST/6:10 CST. In my admittedly crude understanding of space/time, 7:10 EST is later than 7:05 EST. Therefore, given the language above, MLB would only be justified in blacking out this game in the event of "extraordinary circumstances."

I am not of the opinion that Fox wanting a few prime time games = extraordinary circumstances.

So MLB, I would like for you to explain to the good people of Milwaukee why exactly they will not be able to watch their team play on TV on Saturday. (And if that blackout extends to MLB.tv, I'd like you to explain to me why I cannot watch my favorite team play on Saturday.)

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  1. Of course, the rule says after 1:10PM ET *****OR***** before 7:05PM ET. Which, from a technical writing point of view, actually means the entire day. All times are either after 1:10PM OR before 7:05PM.

    MLB doesn't care about you. Selig and company haven't the slightest clue as to how to deal with media in today's environment. I imagine Selig just found out that televisions now come in color and not just black and white. Today is the third consecutive Saturday that I have not been able to watch Boston, as well as the past two Sunday night games. I accept that Sunday night's game will not be on mlb.tv, but these Saturday 7:10PM ET starts are a slap in the face to the fans of the game. Absolutely shameful.

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