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MLB Loves Barack Obama's Money More than the World Series PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 16 October 2008 00:24

 Obama

Guess who has the power to move
the start time for the World Series?

It seems Barack Obama is more powerful than America's Pastime.

FOX and MLB are moving the start time of Game 6 of the World Series (if necessary) up by approximately 15 minutes to accommodate a special half-hour ad slot purchased by the Democratic presidential nominee. The game time will be moved from 8:20 p.m. ET to around 8:35 p.m.

Yes, the World Series is for sale.

The game is currently scheduled for Oct. 29 and will feature the Philadelphia Phillies and the winner of the ALCS between the Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox. As reported by the Hollywood Reporter, the approval by MLB and FOX adds up to one thing: money:

"Fox will accommodate Senator Obama's desire to communicate with voters in this longform format," Fox Sports said in a statement. "We are pleased that Major League Baseball has agreed to delay the first pitch of World Series Game 6 for a few minutes in order for Fox to carry his program on Oct. 29. If requested, the network would be willing to make similar time available to Senator McCain's campaign."

[…]

The blessing from MLB clears the way for Fox to air the promo and collect upward of $1 million in ad revenue for the half hour, more than what either CBS or NBC was charging.

You read the statement by FOX correctly. In the interest of <ahem> “fairness” FOX would be willing to do the same for John McCain, for close to or at $1 million.

There comes a point, and this is probably it, where sports fans say enough already. Ad dollars are hard to say no to, and LCS ratings haven’t been the best, but one has to ask when is enough enough?

We could, say, change the 7th inning stretch to “Stretch Out with Barack Obama”. Or during the pre-game say, “Here’s tonight’s starting lineups presented by John McCain”.

Where does the in-game ad tie-ins become bigger than the game? Apparently, now.

Granted, MLB and FOX would be the first to say that this form of ad sell isn’t intruding on the broadcast, at least not technically. It’s before the pre-game, so it’s possible that there will be less of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck. Somewhere someone is saying that probably isn’t a bad thing.

And, you can’t blame the Obama campaign for this. They’re certainly looking at the draw the World Series has and sees an opportunity to reach a vast audience just a short 6 days before the presidential election.

No, this one falls at the feet of FOX and MLB. All it would have taken is one word:

No.

When “in the best interest of the game” seem to roll off the lips of the commissioner like something akin to MLB’s Anthem, now should have been the time to reach for those words. Instead, they stuck out their hands and said, "Thanks for making a purchase."

Maybe we have had it all wrong. Baseball isn't America's Pastime. Greed is.

A tip of the hat to the excellent Ken Fang of Fang's Bites


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

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