Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Bad news for nocturnal rounders fans

Hearing of earlier starts for baseball playoff games would not mark the first time someone though, "Hey, one positive sports development to come out of the recession." Hey, at least one bloke believes it could be be great for the English Premier League, which is capitalistic excess straight out of Hank and Hal Steinbrenner's most fevered dreams.

Monday's Sports Business Journal predicted that it's likely that baseball will not be so much of the national past bed time this October.
First Fox announced that it is canceling its pregame show during baseball’s regular season. Now look for the broadcaster to start World Series games a half-hour earlier, closer to 8 p.m. ET. Fox has always maintained that later starting times helped ratings, which meant more people were watching. But this year, the World Series games went so much longer (average length for the three non-rain-delayed games was 3 hours, 15 minutes) and ended so late (average ending time was 11:43 p.m. ET) that ratings couldn’t keep up.
It is a small win for fans in the Eastern Time Zone. Too many baseball nuts, on the morning after a heart-pounding extra-inning post-season game, have been confronted with that empty feeling. It comes with realizing that you were the one twitburger in the entire company who stayed up until 1:15 to see who won and have no one to talk about with, let alone someone of the desired gender. C'est la vie.

There are some other intiguing predictions in that article, such as the NCAA basketball tournament being expanded to 96 teams. That one is for another time.

The year ahead in sports media, through a digital crystal ball (John Ourand, Sports Business Journal)


greg said...

I've never understood the fact that regular season games, across the board, begin at 7 p.m. or 7:05 p.m. or 7:07 p.m. in every time zone — for the most part — but playoff ball begins at 8 p.m.

If it's two East Coast teams in the playoffs, no one from the West is watching anyway.

If it's an East-West match-up, fine, start at 8 p.m. EST. Otherwise, 7 p.m. seems to make sense.

Anonymous said...

Someday the leagues will come to the realization that they need to take a small initial hit to the "ratings" in order that people of all ages have access (and a chance to love) the sport.

Even adults can't stay up late enough for the games now. Canada was passionate for baseball in the 80's. Both teams were on TV, there were day games, doubleheaders even. Duke and Dave were on CJBQ EVERY night. It was a right of summer.

Then it was sporadic, the playoff games were later (remember day playoff games?), pay TV, hell, Montreal had NO tv or radio in the end. We couldn't follow it anymore. Forget national radio networks, you can't even get Jays games a couple hours drive away in some places (not that I'd want to, I still hate 'em, not quite like Yankees/Mets rivalry, but in Southern Ont. in the 80's, you were either a Jays fan or Expo fan). Thank goodness for XM (Sirius XM).

Sell your sport to the people that want to buy it, make it available to them.

Good news is, though I'm on the other side of the country now (and I hate the DH), Seattle is a damn fine city to visit, GREAT ballpark (friendliest & best staff in the Majors) and the team is HORRIBLE. I can learn to love a team like that, like I did with the Expos growing up, the Cubs shortly after (and they'll forever break my heart) and now the M's.