Friday’s post was about the excitement of watching some spring training baseball games on free-to-air satellite TV. Once the regular season arrives, FTA satellite dish owners will be just like most other American viewers, with almost no major league baseball games available on free broadcast TV.
Unless you live in New York, Chicago, or Los Angeles, your free-TV exposure to regular-season games will probably be limited to 10 Saturday games on Fox. WPIX in New York will carry 22 Mets games and 21 Yankees games. KTLA in Los Angeles starts with five Dodgers games, all before May 1. Last year, KTLA belatedly added a few more Dodgers games in September.
The big winner is Chicago. WGN plans 55 regular-season White Sox games while WLS, the ABC affiliate, will show 25 Cubs games. Having the Cubs on a station other than WGN just doesn’t feel right. I’ll get used to it.
Everyone else is pretty much out of luck. As I wrote two years ago, there are a few minor-league baseball teams that show local games, but most big-league teams squeeze every dollar by putting every possible game on a pay-TV regional sports network. Especially with the growth of cord-cutting and cord-nevers, I think they’re taking the short-term cash while blocking a new generation of potential fans. Let’s hope that one day some other teams will see the light.