Saturday, October 7, 2006

Eliminate Ratings-Based Playoff Game Starting Times

Many ticket holders for game 4 in St. Louis went to bed tonight not even knowing what time their game will start tomorrow. This needs to change.

Tonight the Mets eliminated the Dodgers by winning the NLDS. Earlier in the day, the Tigers eliminated the Yankees. Three of the four playoff series have been decided, leaving only the Padres/Cardinals with a game tomorrow.

What stinks about this is that the game times of all playoff games are arranged according to a TV ratings pecking order. The most watched game will be scheduled in the prime-time slot (8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific), the next at 4pm/1pm, then 1pm/10am. Because the A's/Twins series was already over, the Pads/Cards were the bottom slot. But because the other series were decided today, they were kicked up into the prime time slot. But this didn't happen until the Mets/Dodgers game was over - well after 10pm Central time in St. Louis.

The Yankees are almost guaranteed the prime time slot for every playoff game they play because they are the top rated team. The only reason they had the afternoon game today was because the combination of two markets, NY/LA for the Mets/Dodgers game, would draw better. Teams like the A's and Twins are stuck always playing day games during the week just because they don't get national TV draw, making it tougher on their fans to see games. Smaller market teams get game times shuffled at the last minute for games 4 and 5 just because larger market series happen to end. I know first hand that this sucks.

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