It’s 2011. Many people have access to more TV channels than they can count. And with Friday night’s game against the Cubs being broadcast on WMLW, 4 of the Brewers’ first 8 games have been inaccessible to much of the state.
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.