When it came out that 20 Washington Nationals games would be broadcast on Ch. 9 (WUSA) instead of Ch. 50 (WDCW), I joked about how great it is that we could watch the Nats on VHF instead of UHF:
DC Sports Bog (The Post) has a good post on what Ch. 9′s thinking was on carrying the Nats: WUSA 9 will simulcast 20 Nats games in 2013
As others pointed out to me, I was viewing this through the narrow lens of an everyday Nats fan. Technically speaking, in the age of digital cable being on a low number channel is irrelevant, but as several pointed out the promotional opportunities of being on Ch. 9 are much greater. I’ll concede the point and eagerly await the ratings report from DC Sports Bog.
We also learned yesterday that nine games through the end of July will be carried on FOX. Some of them will be in primetime. Now, if you are of the mind the Nats tend to lose on national TV, don’t get too worried — these games will be a part of a package meaning that some or even many of them will be regional broadcasts. Don’t be surprised if Bob Carpenter is doing the play-by-play, he did last year.
The real upside of all of this is there will be at least 29 Nats games that viewers won’t have to rely on MASN to watch. While we all know it, it is worth reminding everyone about the absolute travesty of a TV “deal” the Nats and their fans are forced to endure. Bud Selig pushed a corrupt bargain between Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and the Nats when the franchise was still owned by MLB. Selig coddled Angelos by giving 90% of the Nats television rights. Angelos then hastily set up a cable channel called Mid Atlantic Sports Network with poor production values and even poorer market penetration. Angelos kept MASN off most major DC area cable systems through 2005 and well into 2006 — killing momentum for the new Washington franchise. The bad faith served Angelos in two ways — viewers didn’t make the Nats a habit, helping stifle ratings to keep the “rights fee” he had to pay the Nats low. This also helped slow the growth of the D.C. fanbase which Angelos mistakenly felt entitled to. Even now, Angelos is fighting the Nats in the latest round of rights fees. He may wrap himself around the Baltimore and Maryland flags, but he’s naked underneath. His fight to “protect the Orioles for te people of Baltimore and Maryland” is nothing more than him trying to line his pockets. So, in short, any chance to avoid supporting that coward and his cable channel should be welcomed and these 29 games on “over-the-air” channels gives the opportunity.