Atlanta Braves Morning Chop: 5 Ways MLB Could Shake Things Up for Fans

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5. Reduce Blackout Restrictions

This has long been a pet peeve of mine – ever since I first heard the early advertisements for MLB’s Extra InningsSM package.

The sport’s blackout rules are preposterous.  Every year, I feel the need to rant about this.  Fortunately, the Sporting News had an epic post about that earlier this season which permitted me to defer to their treatment of the subject.

In short:  if you want to keep your fans… if you want to expand your fanbase… don’t prevent them from seeing the sport.

I have the same irritation with bad commercial websites, or even brick-and-mortar stores that make it difficult to conduct a transaction for some reason or another.  People:  if I’m at your location and clearly want to spend money on your products, then you need to do everything in your power to help me spend that money.

Baseball is the same.

If I can watch baseball, I am more likely to become a fan.  If I’m a fan, I’m more likely to watch often.  If I watch often, I’m more likely to buy my team’s stuff.  If I buy my team’s stuff, I’m more likely to physically show up at a game.

Yet MLB continues to stifle this progression of fandom at the very first step.

On my DirecTV system at home, the Braves appeared on six different TV networks this season:  Fox Sports Network South (646), SportSouth (649), Fox Sports 1 (219), FOX Local (54), ESPN (206), and the MLB Network (213).  That doesn’t count MLB Extra Innings, which is still a re-broadcast of one of the other feeds.  So even though I’ve caved to their wishes, I still have to find the broadcast each night.

It’s because I bought the FOX Sports package, that I have access to these games, though:  if I hadn’t, they would be blacked out in my area… even if I had bought the $200+ Extra Innings package.

MLB has been obsessed in maximizing its dollars with various media providers without considering the bigger picture of their fans.  Even so, this has gotten them into a lot of legal wrangling over the years – including some non-TV issues that we’ve mentioned before – yet they are still trying to to complicate fan access to their product.  This even includes one of their largest marketsLos Angeles.

This nonsense hurts the sport.  Period.

So if I were in charge, I would be doing everything possible to overcome this issue and provide multiple means of delivering baseball to … the world.

And all of these changes would be designed to do exactly that.

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