FOX Cuts Back on Regular Season Baseball; Blackouts For Regional Games to Be Lifted

Posted by | October 2, 2012 at 2:54 PM

Major League Baseball will lose a substantial amount of broadcast television exposure under the new television deal announced Tuesday.

The FOX broadcast network televise only twelve regular season Major League Baseball windows per season under Fox Sports’ new MLB television contract, less than half of the 26 games the network typically televises under the current deal. Prior to the current deal, FOX aired 18 telecasts per season.

Under the new agreement, which kicks in with the 2014 season, FOX will be able to air up to 45 games in the twelve telecast windows, or around four regionalized games per week.

The reduction of games on broadcast will be accompanied by a substantial amount of games on cable. Up to forty regular season telecast windows will air on a “nationally distributed FOX channel,” likely the long-rumored Fox Sports 1 cable channel — or potentially even FX if the new network fails to develop.

Overall, the FOX networks will combine for 52 regular season games per year, with doubleheaders each Saturday. According to Sports Business Daily, one game will air at 4 PM ET, and the other at 7 PM.

For regular season telecasts on FOX, subscribers to MLB Extra Innings and mlb.tv will now be able to watch the games they do not receive on their local affiliate. In other words, in weeks when FOX televises Yankees/Red Sox in most of the country, subscribers will be able to watch one of the network’s other telecasts.

In another intriguing aspect of the deal, Sports Business Daily reported Tuesday that FOX has the option to move some League Championship Series games to cable television.

(Tuesday’s news from Fox Sports Media Group press release via Fang’s Bites, with additional information from Sports Business Daily)

  • ED

    I never thought I would ever say this but Major League Baseball is turning into the National Hockey League in terms of network tv coverage. Only 12 games on broadcast tv! its unbelievable that MLB could not get a better package. Yes regular season ratings are terrible, but Fox has no one else to blame but themselves. When you do little or no marketing or advertising for your product, what do you expect.

    • SportsGuy

      Especially in times lile these where you have a very interesting season. It’s not all about the Yankees but different teams who stand out, young exciting players, an overall close playoff race.

  • Tigerfan6884

    This is somewhat misleading. Baseball enjoys a substantial “local” following. And all NFL games are nationally broadcast without local except radio. As everyone knows, each MLB team negotiates its own local TV contract. A few of those contracts have reached the billion-dollar level, which, combined, nearly equals the NFL national contract. Baseball fans embrace their local teams and hate it when their regional games are blacked out, which they’d rather watch than a national game.