Remember when Angels baseball was on broadcast TV? No longer: Over-The-Air games have dwindled in number significantly over the last few years, especially after the team’s latest deal with Fox Sports. This year is the worst it’s ever been, though: of the 161 games slated for broadcast this season, 158 of them (98%) are cable-only. Only three are scheduled to be on Fox (all Saturday afternoon games), and none on KCOP.
Why is this? A 2011 deal between the team and Fox Sports, worth around $3 BILLION, means that if you want to watch games live, you better be willing to pay for cable. And don’t expect it to change – the deal is in place until the 2030s. Think of all the technological advances in the last 10 years (specifically mobile and streaming television), and realize that no matter what else happens with technology, we’re locked in having to pay for hundreds of other channels (to companies we all universally hate), all to watch live baseball.
The Angels, in all likelihood, probably don’t care (at least right now). They’re able to pay for big-name players with the money, and they honestly couldn’t care less if poor folks aren’t fans – poor folks can’t/don’t come to the stadium in the same numbers as the better off, more-likely-to-have-$80-to-$120-a-month-for-cable crowd.
I think the Angels (as well as the dozens of other teams that have signed similar contracts) will eventually come to regret the long-term nature of their choice. By then it may be too late, though, and a whole generation of potential fans, for whom cable TV was either too expensive or “something my parents used to have, before the internet”, will have moved on. This fan pretty much already has.