Maury Brown of Forbes reminds us of the power of baseball on TV. At least locally:
Wednesday was a playoff bevy for sports fans with playoffs in both the NBA and NHL, and a great baseball game nationally, but in 14 of 24 markets, it was not hockey or basketball or even that Mets-Cubs that people were watching, but Major League Baseball on their local regional sports networks.
In a sign that baseball continues to be a regional phenomenon, from Cincinnati to Seattle, Boston to Tampa Bay, Baltimore to St. Louis, and more, it was regular season baseball games that crushed all comers in their respective markets over the NBA and NHL playoffs, as well as the nationally televised MLB game on ESPN.
He digs into the numbers from a playoff-heavy schedule in hockey and basketball and shows that, in most markets, the local nine outranked the non-local playoff games in the market. Sometimes substantially.
Which wouldn’t be a big deal until you multiple those nightly wins by 140+ and realize why regional sports networks continue to pay out big money for Major League Baseball.
Japanese League commissioner Atsushi Saito announced that Japan’s professional baseball season will open on June 19. Teams can being practice games on June 2. There will be no fans. Indeed, the league has not yet even begun to seriously discuss a plan for fans to begin attending games, though that may happen eventually.
The season will begin three months after its originally scheduled opening day of March 20. It will be 120 games long. Teams in each six-team league — the Central League and Pacific League — will play 24 games against each league opponent. There will be no interleague play and no all-star game.
The announcement came in the wake of a national state of emergency being lifted for both Tokyo and the island of Hokkaido. The rest of the country emerged from the state of emergency earlier this month. This will allow the Japanese leagues to follow leagues in South Korea and Taiwan which have been playing for several weeks.
In the United States, Major League Baseball is hoping to resume spring training in mid June before launching a shortened regular season in early July. That plan is contingent on the league and the players’ union coming to an agreement on both financial arrangements and safety protocols for a 2020 season. Negotiations on both are ongoing. Major League Baseball will, reportedly, make a formal proposal about player compensation tomorrow.