The Padres Are The Real Victims Of The Television Deal

There has been a ton of controversy over the new Padres television deal in the last few months. The deal is set to pay the Padres close to $1 billion over the next 20 years, a deal that is exponentially larger that their previous deal with COX. The television deal with COX paid the Padres approximately $15 million a year, pennies compared to the larger markets in Major League Baseball.

The new television deal with FOX was supposed to benefit the Padres for many reasons. The first reason is obvious — money. In theory, the Padres are to have more money to spend on payroll, in hopes of building a consistent winner in America’s Finest City. The second was to increase the exposure of the club. The Padres were previously only available on COX, and on Time Warner. The Padres were not available on any satellite carriers. The new television deal was supposed to make the Padres accessible to every cable and satelliate carrier available in the greater San Diego area.

Well, we are halfway through July, and the Padres are not available to 42 percent of San Diego County. Fox Sports San Diego has only reached deals with COX and Directv. From recent reports, they are nowhere close to reaching deals with Time Warner, AT&T, or Dish Network.

From a Time Warner standpoint, Fox is asking for five times the amount that Time Warner paid for Channel 4 San Diego. There has been no wiggle room on either side, and no deal appears to be imminent. Thousands of Padre fans are unable to watch games, unless they make the trek to Petco Park. One would think that the Padres would step in to end this ridiculous and embarrassing fiasco. I am not sure what they can do in a stalemate between television corporations, but here is an example of how the television deal is only hurting the Padres.

I have a 12-year-old nephew who is finally become interested in sports. He played Little League for the first time this year, and was bitten by the baseball bug. Now he watches baseball nonstop. Games on ESPN, MLB Network, and on MLB.tv. I think the kid loves baseball more than I did at his age, which is pretty remarkable.

But alas, my nephew does not have access to FSSD. My sister has AT&T U-Verse, which does not carry the Padres. The hometown nine is blacked out on MLB.tv, so he has access to 29 teams, just not the Padres. I am sure there are several young kids in this situation, and the Padres are missing a golden opportunity to get their hooks into young fans. Much like Tony Gwynn and the 1998 squad made me love the game.

Why would my nephew concern himself with a crap product that he cannot even watch? He can turn on MLB Network, and watch Mike Trout make circus catches, and slam home runs. Matt Kemp is back in action, and San Diego kids with Time Warner can watch him play more often than the Padres. Does that disgust anyone else out there?

July 14, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Los Angeles Angels center fielder Mike Trout (27) singles to center during the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-US PRESSWIRE

Diego is viewed as a “fair-weather” sports town, and that assessment is completely accurate. San Diego is a town full of transplants, who have allegiances with other teams. Others have no interest in sports, unless the Padres or Chargers are winning. Then there are the diehard fans, like myself. San Diego clearly needs to develop young fans. The Padres sponsored Little League teams all over the county, which I thought was a brilliant move. However, the Padres are dropping the ball, by making their product inaccessible to viewers all over the county.

The problem needs to be addressed, before the Padres lose these young fans forever.

Topics: Matt Kemp, Mike Trout, Tony Gwynn

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  • http://twitter.com/markscelfo Mark Scelfo

    The Padres CAN help the situation — they own 20% of Fox Sports San Diego so they SHOULD be involved in the negotiations.

  • http://websoulsurfer.com websoulsurfer

    The Padres are available in more San Diego County households today than they ever were before on Cox/TimeWarner. Time Warner is a distant 3rd in # of households served and have lost a significant # in the past 2 months. AT&T has a very small percentage of households.

    Time Warner got a sweet heart deal from Cox because of the fact they shared advertising sales staff and advertising revenue at the time.

    The price today is fair based simply on fact DIRECTV immediately signed a contract at
    what their CEO said was fair market value for # of games and households
    delivered.

    The fact that Time Warner and AT&T are not willing to pony up for the Padres today is ALL on them for denying sports fans their team.

    Take your complaint to them.

  • http://twitter.com/kevin_charity Kevin Charity

    I am aware of the situation, but from a pure business sense, it makes NO sense that the Padres are not on all available television outlets in San Diego. San Diego is already considered a ‘small market,’ so wouldn’t both the Padres and FOX want to make sure every potential eyeball in the county can watch? I mean, how can FOX maximize profitability of the network if 40% of their potential audience is left in the dark? It just means people in North County can watch the Angels, since it is about the same distance to Angel Stadium, as it is to Petco Park.