Lynn Henning covers the lack of Tiger games on TV again this year, and rips the Ilitchs in the process.
The Tigers are notorious for having been latecomers to the table. It was the biggest reason why Channel 50 had to say sayonara a year ago. A television station needs, at some point, to get on with its programming life. Why Ilitch fails, annually, to understand this is hard to fathom.
Channel 50 ran into another dead-end during the offseason. Net result: Those folks who can’t swallow a monthly cable bill — and they are many — can stretch their imaginations and visualize what the field and the players look like as they tune into Dan Dickerson and Jim Price on local radio. That is, assuming you’re in one of those areas where radio reception along the Tigers network isn’t fuzzy or non-existent.
We’re not finished. FSN Detroit would have at least soothed the cable-payers with its ambitious offer: 140 games, minimum, for 2006. FSN’s lavish package moved up the ladder at Tigers headquarters and straight to Ilitch’s office. There it died, for reasons no one seems to understand.
Without knowing everything involved in the current contracts, I have to agree with Henning’s assessment. I know that sports teams are a business for the owner, but there is also an implied partnership with the fan base. While Ilitch has to do what’s best for his business, I can’t fathom how alienating a fan base that has deteriorated over a decade of losing can help the bottom line.
For Tiger fans who have been anxiously awaiting the start of the 2006 season, they will be treated to a televised game on April 3rd. After a day game on Wednesday, the April 6th game against the Rangers will be televised. But if you want to watch the Tigers over the weekend, you’re out of luck on Friday and Saturday. The same thing happens the following weekend. In fact, only 5 of the first 14 games are televised. While 4 of those not on the air are weekday afternoon games, there is no reason why the weekend games shouldn’t be available.
Fans want to support this team despite it’s recent history. It’s a shame that it is harder than it needs to be.