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.