Three WMLW games. One just simply not on TV anywhere. If you're someone paying extra money to have FS Wisconsin included in your package, how is this acceptable?
MLB.TV isn't any help, either, because thanks to MLB's asinine blackout rules, people in Wisconsin can't watch their own team play when they're not on TV. I imagine this is designed to encourage people to go to the ballpark. Who knows, at one time this might've worked. Times have changed, though, and if people aren't finding ways to get the games online for free, they're simply not watching.
With so many people struggling financially, they're not about to pack up the entire family and go to the ballpark -- especially when it costs $100 to take a family of four to a game and gas is $3.80 a gallon. Sorry, but as someone who's living in the La Crosse area, I'm not going to drive 3 hours each way to watch a game because it's not on TV. I love this team, but I don't have the money to make that happen.
I would gladly pay a couple bucks to buy a single game stream online with no blackout restrictions. I'd be willing to bet the league and its teams would make a killing if they allowed this to happen. And guess what -- interest in the game would grow because the league would actually let people develop an interest in their local team...leading to more money.
If nothing else, this first week of the season has reinforced my belief that the Brewers have the worst television contract in baseball. They were treated as an ugly stepchild when the deal was signed, with FS Wisconsin preferring to sign on for Bucks games at the end of the NBA season instead. While it may have sounded like a good idea at the time, the past few years those without access to WMLW have been subjected to a bad Bucks team playing out the string in half-empty arenas.
Not much can be done about the current contract, but with any hope, the next deal will recognize that the two Milwaukee teams are going in opposite directions, and Fox will choose to air the team on the rise. Until then, we'll just have to tune into Bob Uecker in the radio, and wonder why we can listen to the game on the radio for free, but can't watch it for free on the Internet.
There are Cubs fans in La Crosse, too? Goodness. They're like a friggin' virus.
What I said has nothing to do with which team is better. I'm an avid Brewers and Bucks fan and both teams seem to have their years where they're expected to do well, only to falter sometime late in the season or get an early playoff round. I would love to see the Brewers fulfill expectation, but everyone's just high on hope right now. And there's nothing right now that proves that either club is putting a better product on the field.
I haven't the slighest doubt that the flexibility is there for FSN. All I'm saying is that by switching games, FSN is risking cash from advertising that they've already gotten for Bucks games, and the network isn't going to get a refund for paying for the Bucks games they already decided to show. FSN got paid to show basketball well before MLB's schedule came out, and before there were any baseball offseason moves. And while it's probably true that only seven people watched the Bucks last night, FSN already has their 2011 cash based on a 2010 playoff run.
If FSN decided to show baseball, is it possible that they might get the same ad dollars? Likely. Even make more money? Possible. But the work involved in solidifying the ads, making the changes to advertising, manpower in setting up pre/post-game and the actual process of broadcasting (that WMLW is paying for with last night's game) requires that the revenue be substantial for the change to be worthwhile.
When I stated that another network could pick up the game, I basically meant a local station in that area, similar to the time before cable, where there was basically a 'Brewers Television Network' and local stations across the state show the game. (The Packers still do this during preseason.) I still think that's possible if someone wanted to do it. But, again, that station would have to ensured that the ad revenue is going to be more than the ad revenue that local programming would bring. I actually don't know why a station in Madison or Green Bay wouldn't have picked the game up. I think it would be worth it there, but I don't know about local TV in La Crosse.
It's just timing. Bad timing. And if MLB gets to a point where they miss the TV revenue from the 15 games they don't show, they'll change their tune. But with a 162-game season, I don't think it's a lot to worry about. If the season lives up to the hype, I'd rather miss the first few games rather than the last few.
Also, nothing I'm saying is necessarily in defense of anyone. WMLW's picture quality is as good as a pack of Crayola's. It's painful to watch. FSN… They really try to put a quality broadcast on, but it's still like they send out amateurs, for both sports. And the team that's naturally going to get more attention is the team that did more in the precious season. Right now, that's the Bucks. If the Crew goes somewhere, I'm sure you'll see that change.
I think FS Wisconsin should have the flexibility as a network to pick up the Brewers games at this time of year when the Bucks are out of contention. Apartment8, you suggested another network (say FS Wisconsin) could pony up the money to WMLW, but wouldn't get any return on their money spent to get it? I seriously doubt that. The Bucks game probably got about 20 households watching because their cousins are Bucks cheerleaders. But if you enjoy watching the Bucks play the just as bad Pistons to end the year, then I'm happy you got to see that game.
I on the other hand (also from La Crosse) would like to have seen more then four games on the year already. One of those counting for being at Opening Day. I understand there are contracts, but schedule the Brewers game for an afternoon game or something.
Out of curiosity also, is the Madison market blacked out from these games too? I feel like that would be a huge viewing audience. Eau Claire probably has quite a few fans too. Can't make fans if your not giving them the product. I will say though we are fortunate that throughout the year, FS Wisconsin does carry something like 125 games a year. That's more than most stations cover with their teams. It just grinds my gears that every year we get Bucks games instead of Brewers games when we all are optimistic about the year this early.
By the way, more people are bigger Cubs fans then Twins fans over here. Funny how tonight's game was against the La Crosse locals second favorite team and neither fan base got to see the game.
So who exactly are we mad at here? Are we mad at the Brewers for actually wanting us to come out to a game or two? Are we mad at FSN for thinking (like a lot of people) that the Bucks were making a playoff push, and making basketball priority? Are we mad at WMLW for taking advantage of the opportunity and making the game at least watchable for some of us?
WMLW took advantage when FSN decided to go another direction because they knew there would be viewers, and turn money from advertising. And because money makes this world go 'round, I'm sure any in-state market could have made arrangements to catch WMLW's feed and broadcast these games, if they wanted. But would they have gained that money back? Probably not, because the audience in areas like La Crosse is going to be considerably smaller, and less likely to watch.
So blame your neighbors for not being big enough Brewers fans to make an impact and make the game more in-demand. That is, if they haven't become Twins fans yet.