SBD/May 13, 2011/Media

Fox Kicks Off Slate Of Primetime Saturday MLB Coverage With Red Sox-Yankees

Fox will air Red Sox-Yankees in 71% of the U.S. Saturday night
Fox this weekend kicks off its "first of three consecutive Saturdays" of primetime MLB coverage, and will feature Red Sox-Yankees in 71% of the U.S., according to Michael Hiestand of USA TODAY. This marks the second season Fox will show baseball coverage during primetime on Saturday, and the idea, "if there's another ratings pop this year, is to possibly expand coverage to 10 Saturday nights" in '12. There are two other regional games airing on Fox alongside Red Sox-Yankees. If Fox next season "crammed lots of games -- it will have six next weekend -- into regionalized coverage, it might add studio shows and whip viewers between games." Hiestand notes since "other games can't be televised during Fox's TV window, more games in prime time might mean other games moving to daytime" (USA TODAY, 5/13). In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes MLB fans can "expect to see more Saturday evening action down the road" if Red Sox-Yankees "does well in the ratings department." Saturday night is "usually Death Valley for network broadcasts, but if you've got the right product, you're generally unopposed." A "marquee baseball matchup could win the night -- ratings-wise -- because it will face lightweight competition from the other networks." Fox could expand Saturday night coverage to "five or six weeks" next season, but a "massive tune-out" this season "might convince Fox to dump its Saturday night plan." Raissman writes, "On the weekend, the night time ain't the right time. Would it wreck the sport for fans to get day baseball on Saturday and Sunday?" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 5/13).

SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER: In Chicago, Paul Sullivan notes the Cubs will play their first Saturday night game at Wrigley Field in 13 years this weekend, and if "some in upper management had their way, home night games on Fridays and Saturdays would be scheduled more often." A city ordinance from '88 "prohibits the scheduling of Friday and Saturday night games except in the case of nationally televised games" such as Saturday's Giants-Cubs affair on Fox. Cubs management believes that a "couple of Friday or Saturday night games during the regular season would be beneficial to the team, and to local establishments as well." But whether the ordinance "will be changed soon is doubtful" (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 5/13).
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