Take Me Out to the…Cable TV Network?!

What to do about sagging network television ratings? Why of course! Move the programming to cable, where even fewer people will see it.

At least that’s Major League Baseball’s plan. Since the lead-up to the Fall Classic isn’t what it once was, baseball is wearing its proverbial rally cap. Its new deal with Turner Broadcasting, seven years at an estimated $45 million per, will move one League Championship Series a year from FOX to TBS. As MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, “The economics were what we wanted.”

TBS will produce more ad revenue for the broadcaster but perhaps even lower-rated playoffs. Moving programming with a fragile viewer base to cable has the potential to wreck baseball’s recent post-steroid progress. Attendance and local viewership is up, but short divisional playoff series full of small-market teams already can’t compete with America’s new favorite game.