The MLB's blackout rules are frustrating and most fans hate them to put it nicely. The rules and the boundaries are all set by MLB and the local teams have no control over them. The exact rules are confusing, but the reasons behind them all lead to money. Lots of it. Today I am going to look at some of the nuts and bolts behind them.
MLB's blackout policies were created to ensure that the local team can only be watch on a specific station available by cable and satellite providers. For example, if the Royals were to play the Braves, who are available nationaly on TBS, the TBS broadcast would be not be seen in the Royals blackout region. The blackout rules also apply to all internet broadcasts. The major exceptions to this rule are nationally televised games of the week on ESPN, MLB and FOX. Some others exists, but a person has to venture into the MLB Blackout Policy. The policy is a little wordy. It is almost impossible to stay awake after reading just a couple of sentences of it.
Again, the goal is to make sure the profits of cable companies are protected. Maury Brown at Baseball-Prospectus summed summed of the problem here:
In a $7 billion-plus industry, it's amazing that MLB continues to employ a television blackout policy with one of their core products, actually limiting access to a buying customer base. Whether it's MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV Premium, those that choose to purchase the out-of-market broadcast packages find themselves blacked out of programming each week, either via national exclusivity agreements with FOX and ESPN or at the local/regional level. It's maddening. It's a case of accepting large sums of money from network partners knowing full well that it has a negative effect on baseball's most ardent fans.
Some progress is being made by outside forces to eliminate the problem such as some fans suing MLB over the policy.Implications for Royal fans
Basically MLB extends their blackout policy to 6 states. Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas and all of Missouri expect that part of the state is is filled with high school caring morans.
So after asking fellow readers here and browsing the Royals website, there seems to be 3 main blackout areas. The further a person is from KC, the more the cable and satellite providers will try to take their money.
Kansas, Nebraska and Western Missouri: It is the easiest to find the Royals on TV in this region. All 140 televised games will either be on FOX Sports Kansas City (FSKC) or Fox Sports Midwest (FSMW).
Central Missouri and Iowa: In this region, around 30 games will be available on FSMW. The rest of the broadcasts are available on FSMW Plus. The Plus if for the the extra money a person will likely have to dish out for a sports package. If a person wants to be a Royals fan and actually watch all the available
train wrecks games, it will cost them.
Oklahoma and Arkansas: Our fellow southern brethren get hosed over the worst, unless a person lives in Glass/Wal-Mart country in NW Arkansas. All 140 games are available in that corner of the state. It is import that the Glass family shouldn't be inconvenienced if they want to watch the
investment team they own from afar. Real fans in this area are forced to pay for a sports pack on either cable or satellite. On top of that, only some of the games are available in this region according to the Royals website. Fans know they are getting hosed over when there is a webpage dedicated to how bad they get hosed over.
The blackout rules are stupid, anserine, dopy, dopey, foolish, goosey, goosy, gooselike, jerky, blockheaded, boneheaded, duncical, duncish, fatheaded, loggerheaded, thick, thickheaded, thick-skulled, wooden-headed, cloddish, doltish, dense, dim, dull, dumb, obtuse, slow, gaumless, gormless,lumpish, lumpen, unthinking, nitwitted, senseless, soft-witted, witless,weak and yokel-like for starters. I don't see them changing anytime soon unless it happens in the courts. It is just one of many ways MLB helps to drive fans away from the game.