Major League Baseball has ended the drama (yeah right) as to which network would carry one-half of the League Championship Series' starting next year, announcing that TBS will carry over half of the MLB playoff games starting next year. TBS will carry the NLCS in odd-numbered years and the ALCS in even-numbered years through the 2013 season. TBS and FOX reached a previous TV agreement that gave Turner the Divisional Playoff Games and a package of Sunday afternoon MLB games, as well as the All-Star selection show and all tie-breaker games. FOX, meanwhile, will continue to broadcast their usual Saturday slate of regular season games, as well as the All-Star game and the World Series, as well as half of the League Championship Series. The only real changes for them were the lack of a monopoly of the LCS as well as no LDS games, while their Saturday broadcast slate will extend eight more weeks to a total of 26. ESPN reached a deal last year to broadcast their slate of regular season contests for the next several years, as well as all of the other All-Star week events, including the home run derby. Ugh, seven more years of Berman saying 'Back Back Back Back....Gone'! However, as part of the new agreement ESPN will not televise any playoff games. To read my thoughts on the previous agreement please click here.
With my previous opinion in mind, I must say that I don't like this part of the deal either. I just don't like the concept of something as important as the LCS being on a cable network. Even FOX would be a better outlet for this. Despite their declining influence over the last ten years, network TV is still an important vehicle for televising events, and to see MLB turn away from it for seemingly just cash is so typical of the league, and goes to show that nothing has changed. FOX was reportedly in negotiations for this part of the deal, so why would the league go to cable? $$$ Now, I am not sure what the difference in their offers were, money-wise. However unless it was an egregious undervalue by FOX, the league should have done what was best for the league by reaching a wider spectrum of viewers.
Coming Up: The first part (finally) of my Season in Review Series.