Originally Posted by Noneck
Younger people dont realize but the move to wfld was more that just reception issues on the newly established uhf channel. It entailed buying a new tv for a lot of people and tvs were more expensive then than they are now. It hurt the Sox fan base because many people had no tv access to any Sox games in the chicago market. Wgn would have at least given these people some games to watch.
I remember my family getting its first UHF TV in 1969. Many older fans forget that WGN wasn't televising many White Sox games when they had the rights to them. The Cubs were on more than the White Sox in 1966 and 1967. With the rise of the Cubs as a contender and the demise of the White Sox as relevant in baseball terms, the White Sox were going to get increasing less attention from WGN.
White Sox fans were going to have little chance to see White Sox games on television anyway. The White Sox were in a no-win situation. Their option was to take the WFLD offer for more money (this was in an era where making payroll was an issue, which was the big factor in moving some games to Milwaukee in 1968 and 1969, where crowds dwarfed the Comiskey crowds) and the promise that almost every non-West Coast game would be televised.
Losing their first 10 games of 1968 hurt the White Sox more than moving to WFLD. Being one of the league's worst teams in 1968 and 1969, being baseball's worst team in 1970, the White Sox weren't going to get many people watching their games regardless of what station they were on. In 1969, they typically ran out of ads by the eighth inning, and by the end of 1970, one of their heaviest advertisers was AlkaSeltzer (I guess, if you're still watching, you may need this).
I read this analysis about this huge mistake by leaving WGN, and I find it utterly simplistic. The White Sox wouldn't have been much better off on WGN. A lot of Sox fans couldn't watch the games, and I listened to a lot of Sox games on the radio. But it wasn't like the White Sox were going to capture the imagination of the generation on WGN with Leo Durocher managing Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins and company running on the same station.
And it certainly wasn't like the White Sox were going to get a national superstation following if they hadn't left WGN after the 1967 season any more than the Mets became America's team because they had games televised on superstation WOR.