Friday, April 1, 2011

Rogers to show a lot of Blue Jays Baseball - but not "all"

Rogers' Sportsnet shouts, "Sportsnet has all 162 Jays games" in an article announcing the 2011 Blue Jays Broadcast Schedule. That's the headline; but as far as I'm concerned - it buries the the lead.

Rogers basic cable channel, Sportsnet will be showing 124 of 162 games. 38 Blue Jays games will be available only on the premium priced "Sportsnet-One" channel.

Last year in one of my scorecards of a Blue Jays game I surmised that Rogers Communications Inc. was trying to put more and more Blue Jays games in the higher priced cable packages - the n'th of which is the dreaded, pay-for-view baseball. That was a knee jerk reaction - an opinion I came to without doing any research. Though for Rodgers, last fall was a mess to say the least.

Rodgers has had a lot of trouble rolling out the new "Sportsnet-One" channel. A lot of cable providers across the country wouldn't carry it at the price Rogers was asking. As well, Rogers went ahead before it had all it's ducks in a row, putting customers in a hostage situation in a battle between them and local providers. The war put late season Blue Jays games - some of which had spoiler implications in the run-up to the postseason - to places where baseball fans could not access them no matter what - in some areas they just were not available.

Rogers deserved the wrath they got. But as far as Rogers trying to go in a pay-for-view direction with baseball - I'm happy to report I was wrong last year, and it doesn't ring true this year either.

This year I went and got the Blue Jays broadcast schedule that Sportsnet published in February. In editing the comprehensive table in order to publish it here, I gleaned a pretty fair appreciation of the complexities of working out a seven month baseball broadcast schedule, the dates for each of which are arbitrary (from Rogers point of view) - the dates and times are a product of a process MLB used to produce their schedule. I think I can see in this years schedule, that Rogers' goal is to show as many Blue Jays on the regular cable channel as possible.

Also very important is that the Blue Jays - owned by Rogers - has re-invested in the minor leagues under new President of Baseball Operations Paul Beaston and general manager Alex Anthopoulos. Rogers has approved money over the last two years on minor league talent that will force a decision to spend a whole lot more in a couple of years - towards a shot at the postseason. I'm seeing a magical confluence of opportunities approaching (due to superior management of the team) - much like that which, in hindsight, was happening in the 1990's when the Labatt family owned the franchise - which tells me Rogers Inc. is planning to take a shot at the Pennant in the near future.

These two things together tell me that the near term broadcast strategy is to spread the good Blue Jays news as far and as wide as possible - and that means as much Jays on basic cable as possible.

A longer term strategy say, 10 years down the road, may be to cash-in on success with pay-for-view baseball after a successful run at the postseason. But it's hard to see that far in this quickly evolving media environment - 10 years is another world, the pay-per-click era perhaps - or an internet ad model may emerge. In my opinion all the games that are unavailable on basic cable this year are due to conflicts with other programs Rogers needs to fill out a 24/7, 365 days a year broadcast schedule.


I couldn't find a broadcast schedule for Sportsnet-Ontario online, and TV Guide, or Zap2it only go 2 weeks into the future. All the info in the Blue Jays 2011 broadcast table below was collected via pages put up by event organizers that mention Sportnet-Ontario is broadcasting them on such and such a date. I researched the basic cable blackouts to find out what was on instead of baseball using the date, time and the channel - but I could only get so much info - so in the table below, there are more and more blanks the further into the future you look. 

Rodgers needed to sign contracts with content producers and vendors, to fill out their schedule - some of these contracts have time restraints associated with them - like the English Premier League weekly preview show EPL. In order to provide a complete 24 hour broadcast schedule and offer relevant programming that includes new and emerging markets - like the soccer craze that is sweeping this town and remains strong in British Columbia - Rogers has had to bend a little. That 'bend' is Sportnet-One - and of coarse, as with all corporations, they want someone else to pay for that 'bending' as much as they think they can get away with. I say to Rogers, invest in the new market of soccer - pay it forward so to speak - make sure Sportnet-One is available in the lower priced cable package; and don't make life-long Toronto Blue Jay's baseball fans - a demographic that is entering a key, third generation ---> their parents were fans too - pay for it.

The Toronto Blue Jays Broadcast Schedule table below shows a couple of interesting regular metrics. A blank day every Wednesday; what is that about I wonder? (Not enough info going forward to determine that yet.) The games not on Sportsnet-Ontario that really hurt baseball fans are those where for several consecutive days, while baseball is being played, there is no baseball available in the way one has been experiencing it hither to. There's one such blank in May where in a nine day stretch we get ONE game. Then later, in August there is a stretch of hell - the Rogers Cup Tennis match - where the Jays play at Baltimore on Sunday August 7th, then a Blue Jays travel day - then all the way through to Saturday August 13th at 1:00 PM - no games for you! (said the broadcast nazi).

But that's it - no other horrors are apparent - except for the All Star Game in July - and that's someone else's fault (Bud).

The table below is an edit of a Sportsnet produced 2011 Toronto Blue Jays Television Broadcast Schedule (http://www.sportsnet.ca/jays_schedule2011.xls), a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. The Sportsnet spreadsheet link is available via a Sportsnet MLB-News article entitled "Sportsnet has all 162 Jays games" (February 23, 2011). I've edited out 5 columns including: 'Game', 'Day', 'Sportnet East', 'Sportnet West' and 'Sportnet Pacific' - leaving only "Sportsnet-One" and "Sportnet-Ontario" - here in Toronto, the regular priced cable channel 22. 

(Sorry, the rest of Canada, the entire spreadsheet was too wide to fit in this blog - so I included only the Ontario market - which is the market I'm familiar with. I could create three tables - one for each time zone. That could happen - if there's a demand.)

If I could find the info, I've added in red, entries to the table of what is showing at that particular time - instead of the Blue Jays game that happening out of our view.  The chart entries seem to show that the NHL, UEFA Cup Soccer have important contracts with Rogers - and as well Rogers is Sponsoring the Professional Tennis Tour; the Rogers Cup. And Roger's is the television presentor for the Memorial Cup. Also of note is the regular occurrence of Ultimate Fighting Violence this year, and last year I noted several Poker pookies poking around in stead of baseball games (both of which in my humble opinion, are signs of a coming apocalypse).

I'll keep updating this chart with 'instead ofs ' entries throughout the year; and see what we see as we go forward - and next year at this time we'll do this again with a better temporal understanding.

Toronto Blue Jays 2011 Television Broadcast Schedule + Blue Jay basic cable black-out 'instead-ofs'

DATE AWAY HOME ONE (ET) Ont (ET)
04/01/11 Minnesota Toronto 7:00PM
04/02/11 Minnesota Toronto 1:00PM
04/03/11 Minnesota Toronto 1:00PM
04/05/11 Oakland Toronto 7:00PM NHL Hockey
04/06/11 Oakland Toronto 7:00PM UFC Live
04/07/11 Oakland Toronto 12:30PM
04/08/11 Toronto Los Angeles Angels 10:00PM 10:00PM
04/09/11 Toronto Los Angeles Angels 9:00PM
04/10/11 Toronto Los Angeles Angels 3:30PM
04/11/11 Toronto Seattle 10:00PM
04/12/11 Toronto Seattle 10:00PM
04/13/11 Toronto Seattle 3:30PM UEFA game
04/15/11 Toronto Boston 7:00PM
04/16/11 Toronto Boston 1:00PM
04/17/11 Toronto Boston 1:30PM
04/18/11 Toronto Boston 11:00AM
04/19/11 NY Yankees Toronto 7:00PM
04/20/11 NY Yankees Toronto 7:00PM ?
04/22/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 7:00PM
04/23/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 1:00PM
04/24/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 1:00PM
04/25/11 Toronto Texas 8:00PM
04/26/11 Toronto Texas 8:00PM
04/27/11 Toronto Texas 8:00PM ?
04/28/11 Toronto Texas 2:00PM
04/29/11 Toronto NY Yankees 7:00PM
04/30/11 Toronto NY Yankees 4:00PM
05/01/11 Toronto NY Yankees 1:00PM
05/03/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 6:30PM
05/04/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 6:30PM ?
05/05/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 1:00PM
05/06/11 Detroit Toronto 7:00PM
05/07/11 Detroit Toronto 4:00PM
05/08/11 Detroit Toronto 1:00PM
05/09/11 Detroit Toronto 7:00PM
05/10/11 Boston Toronto 7:00PM
05/11/11 Boston Toronto 7:00PM ?
05/13/11 Toronto Minnesota 8:00PM
05/14/11 Toronto Minnesota 4:00PM
05/15/11 Toronto Minnesota 2:00PM
05/16/11 Toronto Detroit 7:00PM
05/17/11 Toronto Detroit 7:00PM
05/18/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 7:00PM Memorial Cup Preview
05/19/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 7:00PM
05/20/11 Houston Toronto 7:00PM Memorial Cup
05/21/11 Houston Toronto 1:00PM Memorial Cup
05/22/11 Houston Toronto 1:00PM Memorial Cup
05/23/11 Toronto NY Yankees 7:00PM Memorial Cup
05/24/11 Toronto NY Yankees 7:00PM Memorial Cup
05/25/11 Toronto NY Yankees 1:00PM
05/26/11 Chicago White Sox Toronto 7:00PM Memorial Cup
05/27/11 Chicago White Sox Toronto 7:00PM Memorial Cup
05/28/11 Chicago White Sox Toronto 1:00PM Memorial Cup
05/29/11 Chicago White Sox Toronto 1:00PM
05/30/11 Cleveland Toronto
7:00PM
05/31/11 Cleveland Toronto 7:00PM
06/01/11 Cleveland Toronto 7:00PM
06/03/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
06/04/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
06/05/11 Toronto Baltimore 1:30PM
06/06/11 Toronto Kansas City 8:00PM
06/07/11 Toronto Kansas City 8:00PM
06/08/11 Toronto Kansas City 8:00PM
06/09/11 Toronto Kansas City 4:00PM
06/10/11 Boston Toronto 7:00PM
06/11/11 Boston Toronto 1:00PM
06/12/11 Boston Toronto 1:00PM
06/14/11 Baltimore Toronto 7:00PM
06/15/11 Baltimore Toronto 7:00PM
06/16/11 Baltimore Toronto 12:30PM
06/17/11 Toronto Cincinnati 7:00PM
06/18/11 Toronto Cincinnati 7:00PM
06/19/11 Toronto Cincinnati 1:00PM
06/20/11 Toronto Atlanta 7:00PM
06/21/11 Toronto Atlanta 7:00PM
06/22/11 Toronto Atlanta 1:00PM
06/24/11 Toronto St. Louis 8:00PM
06/25/11 Toronto St. Louis 7:00PM
06/26/11 Toronto St. Louis 2:00PM
06/28/11 Pittsburgh Toronto 7:00PM
06/29/11 Pittsburgh Toronto 7:00PM
06/30/11 Pittsburgh Toronto 7:00PM
07/01/11 Philadelphia Toronto 1:00PM
07/02/11 Philadelphia Toronto 1:00PM
07/03/11 Philadelphia Toronto 1:00PM
07/04/11 Toronto Boston 1:30PM
07/05/11 Toronto Boston 7:00PM
07/06/11 Toronto Boston 7:00PM
07/07/11 Toronto Cleveland 7:00PM
07/08/11 Toronto Cleveland 7:00PM
07/09/11 Toronto Cleveland 7:00PM
07/10/11 Toronto Cleveland 1:00PM
07/14/11 NY Yankees Toronto 7:00PM
07/15/11 NY Yankees Toronto 7:00PM
07/16/11 NY Yankees Toronto 1:00PM
07/17/11 NY Yankees Toronto 1:00PM
07/19/11 Seattle Toronto 7:00PM
07/20/11 Seattle Toronto 7:00PM
07/21/11 Seattle Toronto 12:30PM
07/22/11 Toronto Texas 8:00PM
07/23/11 Toronto Texas 8:00PM
07/24/11 Toronto Texas 8:00PM
07/26/11 Baltimore Toronto 7:00PM
07/27/11 Baltimore Toronto 7:00PM
07/28/11 Baltimore Toronto 7:00PM
07/29/11 Texas Toronto 7:00PM
07/30/11 Texas Toronto 1:00PM
07/31/11 Texas Toronto 1:00PM
08/02/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 7:00PM
08/03/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 7:00PM
08/04/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 12:00PM
08/05/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
08/06/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
08/07/11 Toronto Baltimore 1:30PM
08/09/11 Oakland Toronto 7:00PM Rogers Cup
08/10/11 Oakland Toronto 7:00PM Rogers Cup
08/11/11 Oakland Toronto 12:30PM Rogers Cup
08/12/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 7:00PM Rogers Cup
08/13/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 1:00PM
08/14/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 1:00PM
08/15/11 Toronto Seattle 10:00PM
08/16/11 Toronto Seattle 10:00PM
08/17/11 Toronto Seattle 10:00PM
08/18/11 Toronto Oakland 10:00PM
08/19/11 Toronto Oakland 10:00PM
08/20/11 Toronto Oakland 9:00PM
08/21/11 Toronto Oakland 4:00PM
08/23/11 Kansas City Toronto 7:00PM
08/24/11 Kansas City Toronto 7:00PM
08/25/11 Kansas City Toronto 7:00PM
08/26/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 7:00PM
08/27/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 1:00PM
08/28/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 1:00PM
08/29/11 Tampa Bay Toronto 7:00PM
08/30/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
08/31/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
09/01/11 Toronto Baltimore 7:00PM
09/02/11 Toronto NY Yankees 7:00PM
09/03/11 Toronto NY Yankees 1:00PM
09/04/11 Toronto NY Yankees 1:00PM
09/05/11 Boston Toronto 1:00PM
09/06/11 Boston Toronto 7:00PM
09/07/11 Boston Toronto 7:00PM
09/08/11 Boston Toronto 7:00PM
09/09/11 Baltimore Toronto 7:00PM
09/10/11 Baltimore Toronto 1:00PM
09/11/11 Baltimore Toronto 1:00PM
09/13/11 Toronto Boston 7:00PM
09/14/11 Toronto Boston 1:30PM
09/16/11 NY Yankees Toronto 7:00PM
09/17/11 NY Yankees Toronto 1:00PM
09/18/11 NY Yankees Toronto 1:00PM
09/19/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 7:00PM
09/20/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 7:00PM
09/21/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 7:00PM
09/22/11 Los Angeles Angels Toronto 7:00PM
09/23/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 7:00PM
09/24/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 7:00PM
09/25/11 Toronto Tampa Bay 1:30PM
09/26/11 Toronto Chicago White Sox 8:00PM
09/27/11 Toronto Chicago White Sox 8:00PM
09/28/11 Toronto Chicago White Sox 2:00PM




References:

Sportsnet MLB-News - February 23, 2011: "Sportsnet has all 162 Jays games"
http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2011/02/23/jays_schedule_sportsnet/

Sportsnet Microsoft Excel spreadsheet:  "2011 Toronto Blue Jays Television Broadcast Schedule" (http://www.sportsnet.ca/jays_schedule2011.xls).

Sportsnet Soccer - News - February 26, 2010: "EPL going global with television channel"
(http://www.sportsnet.ca/soccer/2010/02/26/epl_global/)

CBC.ca Sports - Baseball - May 13, 2010: "All 2010 Jays games now on Sportsnet"
(http://www.sportsnet.ca/baseball/2010/05/13/blue_jays_sportsnet/)

Wikipedia: "History of the Toronto Blue Jays"
(https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/History_of_the_Toronto_Blue_Jays)




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