Forget all the asinine cross-promotion (Am I the only one who noticed the guy in the Homer mask knew exactly when to jump up as the Fox cameras highlighted him last night?) and exploding scoreboard features. The fact they’re airing Game 1 of the NLCS at the same time as Game 2 of the ALCS tonight is probably the dumbest thing they’ve ever done. After two hours on the couch with M. watching ESPNews, consensus is Fox made the decision to compete against itself for, shockingly, ad revenue related issues and the desire to avoid an early afternoon broadcast on the West Coast. Allow me to retort:
* How does airing two games at the same time increase ad revenues? Aren’t you splitting the audience by doing that? There’s no way they charge as much on Fox Sports Net as they do on big Fox. In some markets, they’re pushing at least half the audience (totally made up, unscientific number) away from the flagship network to a cable outlet. In addition, viewers, now having the choice to watch a different game, will probably switch away during commercials rather than sit there and soak up the encouragement to consume. Seems to me like you’re losing viewers during the exact time advertisers want them most.
* Fox has a limited national lineup in the afternoon. Isn’t a single prime time game plus afternoon revenue you can’t normally count on going to be greater than those received from a split audience at night?
* There are no West Coast teams left in the playoffs. WHY DOES THAT AUDIENCE GET VETO POWER OVER THE REST OF THE COUNTRY???
* There’s a Presidential Debate tonight. So an audience that would already be reduced by a certain amount is watered down further by Fox’s idiocy.
I do understand how Fox gets significantly more ad revenue during prime time than during the afternoon, and with the amount they’re spending to secure broadcast rights, they need to maximize those revenues. I don’t see how tonight’s broadcasts do that, though. This decision just proves that business decisions will almost always trump the interests of fans. It’s bad enough that after all the pregame activities, games usually don’t start until 8:20 Eastern. Throw in the grinding pace of playoff games and you’re asking half the country to stay up watching games well past 11:00 PM local time. Now we can’t even get a late afternoon/early evening game to enjoy at a reasonable time. Fox did show game six of the ALCS in the afternoon last year, so perhaps things will improve as the series progress. I’m not going to hold my breath, though. One of the great things about being a baseball fan in the 80s was coming home from school in October and watching the last half of an LCS game that started anywhere from 12:00 to 3:00 Eastern, then catching the other LCS game that night. Of course, Fox wasn’t around then. Idiots.