Sportsnet and baseball: More choice or cash grab?
Let's examine the curious case of the 24 Toronto Blue Jays games previously owned by CBC.
When the public network decided last fall that it couldn't afford to keep losing money on the Jays, it dropped baseball -- leaving the team with 24 more games to try to get on television. TSN wasn't interested, so Rogers Sportsnet took them.
But Sportsnet apparently decided to take advantage of the situation to promote its regional package of channels. Those 24 games will be available only in the Ontario and Pacific regions. Those living in the West and East regions will get other major league games.
Sportsnet says it's doing this to offer viewers more choice. To illustrate that point, a release sent out yesterday points to the fact that the four Sportsnet feeds will carry 24 baseball games next week -- an impressive number.
In fact, I did hear from two viewers who were keen to watch tonight's Boston-New York game and were thrilled to hear it was on Sportsnet West. I also heard from others in Atlantic Canada and the west who called this a blatant cash grab, in effect forcing them to buy the multi-feed package.
Many fans in those regions aren't too happy about not getting to see their beloved Jays. They're Blue Jays fans first, baseball fans second. And they can't understand how a Rogers-owned channel is depriving them of watching the Rogers-owned Blue Jays.
Sportsnet, of course, has offered a solution. Those living in the East and West can buy the digital Sportsnet package (available at popular prices) and have a choice of watching the Yankees and Red Sox night or the Jays and White Sox.
Technically, they are being offered more choice. The catch is they have to pay for it.