My past readers know that I am very frustrated with SportsNet LA, Time Warner Cable (TWC), and the Dodgers failing to end their greed and apathy toward the fiasco that they ironically refer to as Dodgers TV coverage.
This column isn’t about them potentially denying the majority of the LA basin from enjoying Vin Scully’s final announcing season, although that is a mortal sin against all Dodger fans, and deserves many more words to be written about it than there have been already.
This one is about the short-sighted decision to cut back on Spring Training broadcasts from 31 to just 16. For the past two seasons the Dodgers have been steadily losing fans that cannot access them on television, and failing to gain new fans that should be discovering them.
We loyalists of Dodger Nation haven’t let that dull our enthusiasm for the team, but just when Spring Training has started and we’ve got our collective hopes up high, and our excitement levels for the upcoming season are all revved up – everything grinds to a halt. Our team’s 24-hour a day, all Dodgers, all the time, channel has decided we don’t need to see what’s happening with the team right now, we’ll be just as happy watching a rerun of some random game against some random team, from some random past year.
I’ll be the first to admit Spring Training games don’t have the same glitz and glamour of regular season games. Heck, back in the old days, only the biggest baseball junkies cared about Spring Training developments. That said, back in the old days players used to jump over peach baskets for training.
Things are different now. Hey, TWC, wake up and smell the 21st century!!!
What was once a small circle of baseball junkies has grown into a massive blogger, YouTube, Twitter and everything else, social media universe. It turns out there are multitudes of folks out there who want to know all about Spring Training – and want to SEE the developments as they are happening.
TWC officials are telling us they slashed their broadcast schedule by 50% because less folks are watching mid-week broadcasts. I see, the strategy is to raise awareness of the team, build the brand of SportsNet LA, and increase viewership by showing a game from 2006.
Sure it costs money to turn on the lights and pay the technicians and announcers – but then again, didn’t they account for all that when they made the initial investments and bids for exclusive rights? Do they really lose that much when all the infrastructure is already in place for broadcasting the games?
When they broadcast a game on Monday but skip all the games until Friday they don’t pack everything up and ship it all home on Monday afternoon and then fly it all back in and rebuild everything on Thursday night. I’m pretty sure they booked all of their hotel rooms for the entirety of Spring Training. Is the entire SportsNet LA crew flying home after one broadcast and then flying back in for the next one?
I would think someone in marketing would mention they’ll get a lot closer to achieving the goals of team awareness, brand strengthening and audience growth by showing each day’s ST game live, and then repeating it later in the evening for all the folks who couldn’t watch it earlier.
Of course, I’m presuming those are really the goals of a team that’s being paid 8.25 billion dollars whether anybody can see the games or not, and of a cable TV behemoth that is probably writing off their losses as tax deductions as you read this.