Changes in the national television blackout policy between FOX and MLB for Sat. day games on MLB Extra Innings will allow fans to see extra games on the out-of-market package, but according to league sources, no other adjustments to the policy are expected any time soon. With only one evening game normally on the Sunday night schedule, changes to ESPN’s national exclusivity agreement are not under discussion. The adjustments made with FOX involve national television blackouts on MLB Extra Innings and is separate from the local market blackout issue that has been a topic of discussion for several years. Those talks are still on-going, and indications are that they will not to be resolved soon.
The change to the national blackout window will allow fans that have purchased MLB Extra Innings for television or MLB.TV for online or mobile devices to now see games that start earlier in the day, or West Coast games later in the evening. According to a memo sent by the cable operator consortium iNDemand to their affiliates, the changes impact seeing games on MLB Extra Innings in three ways (Note: “Package” refers to the changes being adopted):
1) On a Saturday when the first MLB game to be telecast by Fox starts at 4:10pm ET games that start at 1:10pm ET or earlier and 7:05pm ET or later will be included in the package.. No games that begin between 1:10pm ET and 7:05pm ET will be included. This will be the case on 21 Saturdays this season.
2) On a Saturday when the first MLB game to be telecast by Fox starts at 3:10pm ET games that start at 12:10pm ET or earlier and 6:05pm ET or later will be included in the package. No games that begin between 12:10pm ET and 6:05pm ET will be included. This will be the case on 3 Saturdays this season (April 10, May 1 and May 8).
3) On a Saturday when the first MLB game to be telecast by Fox starts at 7:10pm ET games that start at 4:10pm ET or earlier and 10:05pm ET or later will be included in the package. No games that begin between 4:10pm ET and 10:05pm ET will be included. This will be the case on 2 Saturdays this season (May 22 and June 26).
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