Wednesday, October 10, 2007

TV execs dreams could become nightmare

When the baseball playoffs started a week or so ago, the TV channels who were covering them were licking their lips and preparing for a feast. The Yankees made it, so did the Red Sox, and the Cubs. Just think : a New York-Boston AL championship (guaranteed to go all seven games, all long and tense), followed by a possible New York-Chicago or Boston-Chicago superstar World Series, with one of the two mega-ratings national-drawing teams plus all of Chicago panting for an historic miracle.

Well, now the dream has turned bleak. Three of the first round series were minimum-game sweeps, mostly with uneventful wins. (Try getting the full load of ad dollars from that.) Both the Yanks and the Cubs are out of it. So much for the mega-market matchup.

But it could get worse : if Colorado blows through Arizona (quite possible), and Cleveland defeats the Red Sox (a very remote possibility), the television nets/cable channels could have a series where the only people watching will be from two medium-market cities. I'll still be watching it, like any real fan of the game itself. But for the most part, the East, West, and South Coasts won't be. Then, what kind of money can they ask for next time, what with this latest example of the risk side of sports advertising? I can picture TV execs squirming and sweating in bed at night, watching their dream payday convert into a horror movie nightmare. And how they suddenly get religious enough to pray that Papi and Manny can send Cleveland back home.

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