The key thing that you should care about most first: starting in 2014, Saturday out-of-market games will no longer be blacked out from MLB.tv and Extra Innings customers, even when Fox has a national game. It’s not as significant as, say, MLB lifting the territory-driven MLB.tv blackouts currently enforced for vast swaths of the country despite the fact that they are unable to watch the games on TV, but this is a step in the right direction.
As for the stuff that the league, the owners and the networks care most about: the league just announced an eight year extension of the TV rights deals for Fox and TBS. For the most part it will remain the same — Saturday games on Fox, Sundays on TBS, the World Series and All-Star Game on Fox, the rest of the playoffs split between them — with a lot of interactive and live streaming as part of the deal.
The money: Selig says that the ESPN, Fox and Turner deals are collectively worth $12.4 billion between 2014 and 2021.
There will be big money rolling in to every major league team now as a result of this deal. Adjust your surprise at teams’ spending habits accordingly.
It’s can’t be easy being a Mets fan. Your team plays in the biggest city in America and should, theoretically, have big payrolls and always be in contention. They aren’t, however, partially because of horrendous luck and ill-timed injuries, partially because of poor baseball decisions and partially because the team’s ownership got taken down by a Ponzi scheme that, one would think anyway, sophisticated businessmen would recognize as a Ponzi scheme. We’ll leave that go, though.
What Mets fans are left with are (a) occasional windows of contention, such as we saw in 2014-16; (b) times of frustrating austerity on the part of ownership when, one would hope anyway, some money would be spent; (c) an inordinate focus on tabloidy and scandalous nonsense which just always seems to surround the club; and (c) a lot of disappointment.
You can file this latest bit under any of or many of the above categories, but it is uniquely Mets.
Team president Jeff Wilpon spoke to the press this afternoon about team payroll. In talking about payroll, David Wright‘s salary was included despite the fact that he may never play again and despite the fact that insurance is picking up most of the tab. Wilpon’s comment:
I’m guessing every team has a line item, someplace, about the costs of insurance. They’re businesses after all, and all businesses have to deal with that. They do not talk about it as a barrier to spending more money on players to the press, however, as they likely know that fans want to be told a story of hope and baseball-driven decisions heading into a new season and do not want to hear about all of the reasons the club will not spend any money despite sitting in a huge market.
This doesn’t change a thing about what the Mets were going to do or not do, but it does have the added bonus of making Mets fans roll their eyes and ask themselves what they did to deserve these owners. And that, more than almost anything, is the essence of Mets fandom these days.