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03 March 2006

A's 2006 TV Schedule

The A's have released their 2006 broadcast schedule. There's nothing surprising in here regarding the local coverage schedule. In total, 126 games will be carried on a combination of FSN/FSN+, KICU, FOX, and ESPN. The surprise is that only one game after opening day will be shown on ESPN. Typically that's subject to change as the playoff stretch begins in August. Some Sunday home broadcasts may be moved from their customary 1:05 start to 5:05. Should the A's be at or near the top of the division after the All Star Break, look for this to occur at least once or twice.

The per network breakdown:
  • FSN: 69 games
  • FSN+: 8 games (All in April)
  • KICU: 44 games
  • FOX Saturday: 4 games
  • ESPN: 1 (+1 additional on ESPN2/KICU)
Looking at the schedule by day of the week, the big hole is in day games held on Tuesday-Thursday. 19 games fall into that category (10 home, 9 road), all starting at 12:35 or earlier. The rest of the day/time breakdown:
  • Home Weekday Games (12:35 start): 10 games
  • Home Saturday Games - FOX pre-empted (1:05 start): 6 games
  • Home Sunday Games (1:05 start): 1 game
  • Home Weeknight Games (7:05 start): 1 game
  • Road Weekday Games (3:00 or earlier start): 12 games
  • Road Weeknight Games (4:00 or later start): 6 games
It isn't as comprehensive as the Giants' schedule. A's fans have dealt with not having weekday afternoon TV broadcasts. And there's one occasion when the A's get the short end when competing with the other FSN teams. On Wednesday, April 19, a Warriors@Jazz game is set for 6, while Giants@D-Backs is scheduled for 6:40. The A's are at home against Detroit, and the timing makes the Wednesday night game difficult to fit it into the FSN/FSN+ schedule.

There is one other new item. FSN+, which until now has been broadcast on 1 of 15 channels depending on what cable/satellite system you had, is now standardizing somewhat. If you're a Comcast Digital subscriber, you'll now be able to get FSN+ on channel 410. 410 is surrounded by several other second-tier sports networks including ESPN News, ESPN Classic, Comcast Sportsnet (CSN), and College Sports TV (CSTV), along with the NFL Network and NBATV.

Here's the kicker: I called FSN Bay Area, and they confirmed that after the end of April/May, FSN+ will be permanently moving to 410, which means it will be available for Comcast's digital subscribers only. Satellite subscribers and those outside the Comcast sphere of influence should not be affected. This shouldn't have any impact on this season's schedule, but it will definitely impact all viewers in the future through the end of the deal, since the A's, Giants, Sharks, and Warriors are all signed through 2010. It's actually a shrewd move on Comcast's part if their intention is to move everyone to digital ASAP (it has been for several years now). It also serves to minimize the difference between FSN's and CSN's availability.

BTW, did you know that in the Bay Area, FSN is not owned by FOX? It's owned by Rainbow Media, a subsidiary of Cablevision. Cablevision also owns the NY Knicks and Madison Square Garden, among numerous other holdings. They're also known for almost singlehandedly sinking the NYC 2012 Summer Olympics bid, because they successfully waged a campaign against the planned Jets/Olympic Stadium on Manhattan's West Side. The stadium and its retractable dome would have been serious competition for the Garden.

3 comments:

peanut gallery said...

The FSN thing sucks for me. I've started considering digital cable/satellite recently anyways, but I still don't like being manipulated like that.

NY was never going to get the Olympics anyways. No North American city was. Too many recent Olympics in NA already. They try to spread those out around the world.

Jeff said...

ML,

During your research of the TV agreements, did you come across any information that would help explain the archane black out rules. I have been reading material put out by Direct TV, the essence of which is that they are not responsible for "blackouts". Seems to me that there is certain information that broadcasters are reluctant to make known to the public. No doubt it boils down to money, and who is not getting paid for what. The whole thing is ridiculous from the consumer point of view as far as I can see.

Marine Layer said...

For baseball it's all supposed to be ZIP Code-based. Every team submits a list of ZIP Codes that defines its TV territory. This is different from stadium territorial rights as is usually much more expansive. Beyond that, it's all controlled by each local cable system.