We noted earlier this week that the MLB made a major mistake in scheduling the World Series by having four of seven possible games compete directly with the NFL. As bad as that looks for the league and the sport in general (“Hey, did you watch the World Series? Me neither. Oooh, Jaguars-Vikings is on!”), the real loser is FOX.
According to GoBankingRates.com, FOX is paying the MLB $500 million a year to broadcast baseball games, including the postseason, through the year 2021. Each year the MLB hopes to recoup a big chunk of that money through advertising in the World Series. For example, two years ago it cost $425,000 for a 30-second ad spot during the Fall Classic.
[M]ost ad time is sold based on a guaranteed audience; given the historically low ratings for the 2012 World Series — just 12.7 million viewers — cashing in on $30 million a game does not seem likely for Fox this year.
So FOX paid the MLB a ton of money for the right to broadcast their games, and then the MLB schedules the games so FOX ends up getting a terrible return on investment — and, unless things change, likely not renewing their contract come next decade. Where will sports television be at that point? This deal, and the way the MLB bungled the details, is one of the reasons we’ll be checking highlights on Twitter rather than actually watching the games in the near future.
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