It is not every day that a media corporation revives a failed brand, but Fox Sports has decided to flash back to the days of The Baseball Network for its upcoming primetime Major League Baseball coverage.
The previously announced eight straight weeks of primetime Major League Baseball coverage on FOX this summer will air under the banner of ‘Baseball Night in America,’ the same title used for primetime telecasts on ABC and NBC during the days of The Baseball Network in the mid-1990s.
The Baseball Network was similar to what FOX plans to roll out this year, with several games airing regionally in primetime either on ABC or NBC. Ratings were substantially higher for regular season games on TBN during the strike-shortened 1994 (6.2) and 1995 (5.8) seasons than for the 1993 season on CBS (3.8) or any subsequent season on FOX.
Where The Baseball Network failed — and miserably — was during the postseason. TBN aired all playoff games in any given night at the same time, leaving viewers with the option of watching only one game out of four during the Division Series.
Some have suggested that the ‘Baseball Night in America’ name is a play on NBC’s ‘Football Night in America’ NFL studio show, but that seems less likely.
(‘Baseball Night in America’ logo from Sports Business Journal)