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View Full Version : Fans sue MLB over blackout rule.


ChicagoG19
05-14-2012, 07:40 PM
Link (http://www.awfulannouncing.com/2012-articles/may/fans-are-suing-mlb-over-their-blackout-policy.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter)

Let's hope the fans win.

gregoriop
05-14-2012, 07:51 PM
Good. Hey MLB, fans want to give you money. How hard is it to have a system that makes sense?

SephClone89
05-14-2012, 10:09 PM
The blackouts don't completely bother me personally, but they are annoying.

I'm in the process of moving to Iowa City with my girlfriend, who is a Northern CA native. She has had mlb.tv for a few years (I know, luckiest guy in the world) to watch the Giants, so we're combining her subscription to that with my PS3 to watch a bunch of games at our new apartment. The blackout in Iowa is ludicrous, though: Cubs, Sox, Cardinals, Brewers, Royals, Twins. Luckily we DO get CSN Chicago and WGN, so watching Sox games won't be a problem.

ChicagoG19
05-14-2012, 10:43 PM
The blackouts don't completely bother me personally, but they are annoying.

I'm in the process of moving to Iowa City with my girlfriend, who is a Northern CA native. She has had mlb.tv for a few years (I know, luckiest guy in the world) to watch the Giants, so we're combining her subscription to that with my PS3 to watch a bunch of games at our new apartment. The blackout in Iowa is ludicrous, though: Cubs, Sox, Cardinals, Brewers, Royals, Twins. Luckily we DO get CSN Chicago and WGN, so watching Sox games won't be a problem.

However, the blackout will come into play when Fox decides to put on the Cardinals instead of White Sox in Iowa.

Lip Man 1
05-14-2012, 11:23 PM
When I interviewed Bob Grim a few years ago we talked about blackouts a lot, here's the link to his interview if you are interested:

http://www.whitesoxinteractive.com/rwas/index.php?category=11&id=3669

Lip

SephClone89
05-15-2012, 12:03 AM
However, the blackout will come into play when Fox decides to put on the Cardinals instead of White Sox in Iowa.

Indeed, though I already had to deal with that in Normal the last four years.

DumpJerry
05-15-2012, 07:55 AM
Sounds like a weak lawsuit. A first year law student could get it dismissed after s/he has had a couple of months of contract law.

asindc
05-15-2012, 09:17 AM
The MLB blackout rules are silly and counter-productive.

PaleHoser
05-15-2012, 11:02 AM
The MLB blackout rules are silly and counter-productive.

Agreed. My oldest subscribed to MLB.tv last year while at college in Wisconsin. He can't get White Sox games up there on TV, but the area was still subject to blackout of White Sox games. Silliest thing I've ever heard, and it cost them a subscriber.

Now all he can watch is the Brewers while on campus, and Aramis Ramirez makes him sick to his stomach. It's cruel and inhumane.

TheOldRoman
05-15-2012, 11:03 AM
The blackouts don't completely bother me personally, but they are annoying.

I'm in the process of moving to Iowa City with my girlfriend, who is a Northern CA native. She has had mlb.tv for a few years (I know, luckiest guy in the world) to watch the Giants, so we're combining her subscription to that with my PS3 to watch a bunch of games at our new apartment. The blackout in Iowa is ludicrous, though: Cubs, Sox, Cardinals, Brewers, Royals, Twins. Luckily we DO get CSN Chicago and WGN, so watching Sox games won't be a problem.But is is WGN America or the local version? If it's the latter, you are going to miss most of the WGN games. Also, I don't know for sure but you might miss the CSN+ games, which inexplicably still happen every so often when it's just the Sox and Cubs playing.

As for the blackouts, baseball has claimed they do it because local affiliates are upset about losing ad revenue. The solution is, instead of going to a "game to return shortly" screen on MLB.tv, just make fans sit through the commercials the network airs, then have the teams relay local viewership back to the networks.

Over By There
05-15-2012, 11:18 AM
I hope changes are forthcoming. I'm an MLB.tv subscriber, and living in Louisiana, it works well most of the time. I do have two issues, though. The first is when the Sox are on Fox on Saturday. Very rarely will the Fox affiliate down here choose a White Sox game over anything else. In that case, I can't watch the Sox game (the Humber perfect game is a painful example). I can assure MLB that I do not choose to watch yet another Yankees-Red Sox game instead, so the ad revenue argument is weak. In my case, I find chores to do, watch golf, etc.

The other situation is when the Sox play the Rangers. I'm in the Rangers and Astros blackout area, even though Rangers games are rarely carried on TV here (I get FS Houston so I do get most every Astros game I could want, whoopee!). So when the Sox play the Rangers, typically I can't watch those games (unless they're carried by WGN or ESPN). Although these things impact perhaps a dozen games a year, it's still frustrating to me.

SephClone89
05-15-2012, 09:56 PM
But is it WGN America or the local version?
If it's the latter, you are going to miss most of the WGN games.

It's WGN America, but all Sox and Cubs WGN games are on WGN America. I'm positive, as WGN America is what I had for four years in Normal as well. You are probably confused because NO Blackhawks WGN games are on WGNA, and only ten or so Bulls games a year are on it.

Also, I don't know for sure but you might miss the CSN+ games, which inexplicably still happen every so often when it's just the Sox and Cubs playing.

Surprisingly enough, we do get CSN+ here, actually. So the only games I'll miss are the WCIU games.

Lip Man 1
05-15-2012, 11:15 PM
All baseball games shown on WGN to the Chicago area are shown nationally via WGN America, there's no difference.

Lip

SephClone89
05-15-2012, 11:23 PM
All baseball games shown on WGN to the Chicago area are shown nationally via WGN America, there's no difference.

Lip

Yep; that's what I said.

Bucky F. Dent
05-16-2012, 02:41 PM
The Sox are blacked out in Indianapolis in spite of the fact that the only "local" broadcast that we have access to is WGN. It's an absolute absurdity! :angry: But then again, it is Bud Selig.

TDog
05-16-2012, 04:11 PM
The Sox are blacked out in Indianapolis in spite of the fact that the only "local" broadcast that we have access to is WGN. It's an absolute absurdity! :angry: But then again, it is Bud Selig.

Many cable companies have dropped WGN because they show Sox and Cubs baseball, which amounts to the smae as a blackout. Where I live, Comcast doesn't offer WGN, and most of the places I have lived had dropped WGN before I had moved there. When I lived in suburban Milwaukee, WGN games were sometimes blacked out.

I don't know if you can blame Bud Selig, although it's nice to have a scapegoat.

doublem23
05-16-2012, 04:18 PM
Many cable companies have dropped WGN because they show Sox and Cubs baseball, which amounts to the smae as a blackout. Where I live, Comcast doesn't offer WGN, and most of the places I have lived had dropped WGN before I had moved there. When I lived in suburban Milwaukee, WGN games were sometimes blacked out.

I don't know if you can blame Bud Selig, although it's nice to have a scapegoat.

OK, so what does any of that have to do with the fact that in Indianapolis you can watch Sox games on WGN, but that's it?

asindc
05-16-2012, 04:28 PM
Many cable companies have dropped WGN because they show Sox and Cubs baseball, which amounts to the smae as a blackout. Where I live, Comcast doesn't offer WGN, and most of the places I have lived had dropped WGN before I had moved there. When I lived in suburban Milwaukee, WGN games were sometimes blacked out.

I don't know if you can blame Bud Selig, although it's nice to have a scapegoat.

Selig can be blamed because he has a lot to do with it as the pretend Commissioner. To suggest otherwise is to suggest he plays no role at all in what, when, where, and how games are broadcast.

TDog
05-16-2012, 07:30 PM
OK, so what does any of that have to do with the fact that in Indianapolis you can watch Sox games on WGN, but that's it?

There are markets that have taken away that opportunity by taking away WGN entirely. Comcast has two stations deveoted to Northern California baseball in the Central Valley. Comcast has effectively blacked out compting White Sox and Cubs games by dropping WGN. Baseball has broadcast territorial rights, but the people who provide televised baseball have an interest in maintaining many of those rights as well.

Many fans are upset that they can only get teams in their own territory, but fans don't have a legal right to get out-of-territory games. They don't have a legal right to watch WGN. I sympathize. I'm a White Sox fan who spent pretty much his entire adult life outside the Chicago area. I miss being able to stream baseball on free radio, which didn't last long.

Territorial rights, though, provide baseball overall and individual baseball teams more money. Baseball is in a position where it can sell products to fans who want to avoid blackouts.

It doesn't matter who the commisioner is. It's about the money. Owners want more money. Players want more money. Many fans are upset that it's about money, but many want their teams to have more money to be able to compete for talent and will complain that the idiots who run their teams couldn't work out a more lucrative television deal.

DSpivack
05-16-2012, 07:55 PM
There are markets that have taken away that opportunity by taking away WGN entirely. Comcast has two stations deveoted to Northern California baseball in the Central Valley. Comcast has effectively blacked out compting White Sox and Cubs games by dropping WGN. Baseball has broadcast territorial rights, but the people who provide televised baseball have an interest in maintaining many of those rights as well.

Many fans are upset that they can only get teams in their own territory, but fans don't have a legal right to get out-of-territory games. They don't have a legal right to watch WGN. I sympathize. I'm a White Sox fan who spent pretty much his entire adult life outside the Chicago area. I miss being able to stream baseball on free radio, which didn't last long.

Territorial rights, though, provide baseball overall and individual baseball teams more money. Baseball is in a position where it can sell products to fans who want to avoid blackouts.

It doesn't matter who the commisioner is. It's about the money. Owners want more money. Players want more money. Many fans are upset that it's about money, but many want their teams to have more money to be able to compete for talent and will complain that the idiots who run their teams couldn't work out a more lucrative television deal.

I understand that, but do all the teams make money off of the Las Vegas market that are blacked out there--Colorado, Arizona, San Diego, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Francisco? Somehow I doubt that. A similar situation occurs in Iowa, where fans are blacked out from watching Minnesota, Milwaukee, both Chicago teams, Kansas City and St. Louis. Somehow I doubt all those baseball games are available on local cable in Des Moines or Las Vegas.

Bucky F. Dent
05-16-2012, 10:03 PM
Baseball is in a position where it can sell products to fans who want to avoid blackouts.

It doesn't matter who the commisioner is. It's about the money. Owners want more money. Players want more money. Many fans are upset that it's about money, but many want their teams to have more money to be able to compete for talent and will complain that the idiots who run their teams couldn't work out a more lucrative television deal.

That is the most ironic and infuriating part. I would be willing to pay money to watch Sox games!!!!! But even with the MLB package, I can't watch Sox games!

Nellie_Fox
05-17-2012, 01:05 AM
The blackout rules are bizarre. My youngest brother lives in West Virginia. He has MLB.tv so he can watch Sox games, but when they play Cleveland, he gets blacked out because he's supposedly in Cleveland's territory. The Cleveland games are not available on any channel that he can get, but they are blacked out nonetheless.

doublem23
05-17-2012, 01:27 AM
That is the most ironic and infuriating part. I would be willing to pay money to watch Sox games!!!!! But even with the MLB package, I can't watch Sox games!

Right, it would be old-timey and dopey enough for MLB to enforce any sort of blackout rules, but it's downright stupid that they enforce them in markets that can't get those teams' games, anyway.

Pretty much how HBO has managed to turn Game of Thrones into the most pirated television show in history because they continue to only offer customers one mean of watching it legitimately.

It's always mind numbing when these executives at huge, multimillion dollar companies seem to not understand Internet 101.

TDog
05-17-2012, 01:32 PM
That is the most ironic and infuriating part. I would be willing to pay money to watch Sox games!!!!! But even with the MLB package, I can't watch Sox games!

I believe the problem is that baseball teams do their own broadcasting contracts. They have since the invention of broadcasting, and the strong commisioner at the time saw nothing wrong with that. Teams make contracts that incorporate blackout rules.

amsteel
05-17-2012, 03:06 PM
The reason the blackout policies exist is because the RSNs provide more revenue than MLB.tv, there's no other explanation.

And with Anaheim and TX inking multi-billion dollar RSN deals, it doesn't bode well for a reduction in blackouts.

Huisj
05-17-2012, 03:24 PM
The reason the blackout policies exist is because the RSNs provide more revenue than MLB.tv, there's no other explanation.

And with Anaheim and TX inking multi-billion dollar RSN deals, it doesn't bode well for a reduction in blackouts.

But that explanation still doesn't explain the problem of those RSNs not being offered in areas where the blackouts exist. The blackouts are to get people to watch the RSNs on TV, right? So if there is no TV broadcast of those RSNs available, what is the blackout accomplishing?

The info about the states with no teams but 4 or 5 blackout territories is just plain infuriating and stupid.

MISoxfan
05-18-2012, 01:16 AM
If it weren't for blackout restrictions I don't think I would even bother with a cable/satellite provider.

amsteel
05-18-2012, 09:55 AM
But that explanation still doesn't explain the problem of those RSNs not being offered in areas where the blackouts exist.

My guess is that the RSNs have the option to expand into those markets, but for whatever reasons don't. I would assume they don't see a monetary benefit from expansion.

Why they have rights in such far-flung areas in the first place is the (assumed) problem.

Huisj
05-18-2012, 10:34 AM
My guess is that the RSNs have the option to expand into those markets, but for whatever reasons don't. I would assume they don't see a monetary benefit from expansion.

Why they have rights in such far-flung areas in the first place is the (assumed) problem.

Exactly. And if they don't expand, they should be forced to give up those rights to the territory.

voodoochile
05-18-2012, 10:57 AM
The blackout rules are bizarre. My youngest brother lives in West Virginia. He has MLB.tv so he can watch Sox games, but when they play Cleveland, he gets blacked out because he's supposedly in Cleveland's territory. The Cleveland games are not available on any channel that he can get, but they are blacked out nonetheless.

Jacksonville NC is Orioles territory for the local FSN affiliate (go figure). Of course they NEVER show the Orioles games except when they are playing NY or Boston so whenever the Sox were playing Baltimore my MLB.TV would be blacked out.

I understand the FOX rule on Saturday. FOX pays a LOT of money to MLB for exclusive rights to televise baseball on Saturday afternoons. So long as that is the case MLB will continue to let them dictate the rules and that's fine by me even if it can be a bit frustrating at times.

russ99
05-18-2012, 01:39 PM
To me this, along with many other moves (such as forcing the Astros to move to the AL West and the "Yankees and Red Sox make the playoffs every year" wild card expansion) is MLB putting their broadcasters above the fans.

Surely there's a overall movement afoot with practical streaming video available to keep old broadcast and cable TV business practices in place, but MLB could charge a premium to stream home games, and many fans would utilize it.

At what point does it become more important for MLB to squeeze every last penny out of TV rights and alienate fans and potential fans in the process?

Lip Man 1
05-18-2012, 05:32 PM
Major league owners historically have looked at the short term, bottom line benefits over long term implications, so that should answer your question.

Lip

fram40
05-19-2012, 10:53 PM
Major league owners historically have looked at the short term, bottom line benefits over long term implications, so that should answer your question.

Lip


It is amazing that many of these guys ever amassed enough money to buy teams.

Lip Man 1
05-19-2012, 11:40 PM
A business philosophy is much different from something many owners consider a hobby.

Lip

eastchicagosoxfan
05-20-2012, 05:53 PM
The reason the blackout policies exist is because the RSNs provide more revenue than MLB.tv, there's no other explanation.

And with Anaheim and TX inking multi-billion dollar RSN deals, it doesn't bode well for a reduction in blackouts.

Is Bill Wirtz running the show?

Reach more people and revenue should go up. MLB and the teams fans follow are a captive audience. It shouldn't be too challenging to figure out how to capitalize on that exclusivity.