SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - JUNE 21: People set up TVs to watch the North Korean (Korea DPR) team in their Group G match against Portugal at the Bongeun Buddhist Temple on June 21, 2010 in Seoul, South Korea. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Blackouts, regionalization, carriage battles: just another weekend in sports you didn't see.
As a Dish Network customer, the slap fight between Fox Corporation and Dish Network prevented me from seeing the Diamondbacks play their final series of the season in Los Angeles despite having paid for the privilege.
Both corporations hoped their snotty emails and threatening news crawls would sway me to one side or the other, but how can I possibly stand seeing Mommy and Daddy fight? Is this my fault? Could I have loved them more with more cash? Are Mommy and Daddy breaking up and leaving me to be raised by Grandma broadcast television?
I might have instead seen the game on the MLB.TV subscription I also paid for, but why would Major League Baseball hurt their poor victimized broadcast partner's fight by releasing any pressure against those sadistic Dish Network bastards? That left Diamondbacks fans to take a cue from the team and assume the final weekend never happened.
Except I didn't. Instead of identifying with my rich captors, I hopped in my car and drove to Los Angeles to watch Zach Kroenke's first start of the career, cutting out the middlemen. I saw only one Diamondbacks cap at the game that wasn't worn on the field, meaning I might have gone about solving this conundrum the hard way.
At least I wasn't a San Diego sports fan last weekend. Sunday's big sporting events might well have occurred in 1984 for all those exiled souls knew. The Chargers game came up a few thousand short of a sellout for the second time this season, meaning I could have seen more of the Arizona Cardinals game on Dish Network than locals could.
This should sound familiar, of course, to Cardinals fans. Their playoff games were nearly blacked out last season until those final "non-premium" seats finally sold out after multiple extensions. Chargers fans might as well plan now for a radio-based season, just like in the olden days.
Since I was in town and therefore blacked out, I attended the Cardinals/Chargers game. After all, how could I miss a Derek Anderson start?
As I left after the third quarter of possibly the last Derek Anderson start this season, I turned on the radio to listen to the last few at-bats of the San Diego Padres' season as their mini-comeback after their mini-collapse came up a little short.
In doing so, I partook of a game that the east coast of the United States took as rumor. Instead, TBS kept the easy moneymaker of a Yankees-Red Sox walkthrough while Selig and friends failed to find a national home for the last meaningful game of the season.
In order to work around two blackouts and ridiculous inflexibility by national broadcasters and sports leagues, I merely drove over 900 miles and dropped $150 on tickets and fees for the cheapest seats in each house, not to mention transportation and lodging. There's a sustainable business model in action.
Dish Network: Your days are numbered. If I have to choose between my content provider parent and my content aggregator parent, I'm staying with the former and visiting the latter for the holidays at local bars and restaurants. As previously documented, there are other options. Say hi to Blockbuster on your way out.
Sports leagues: You didn't win me over; you're still on notice. Your business models are based on exclusivity. You've already nearly come to the point where only moneyed people can cultivate an affection for your sports, leaving you with a truncated fan base in each successive generation. However, you expect every citizen to buy you new stadia and every employee to take a massive paycut when your profit margins soften. This, too, is a short-term plan.
It's not like there aren't other entertainment options available. After all, Snooki is writing a novel. You might as well start giving tickets away like the Tampa Bay Rays.
When you're all done dousing each other in gasoline and waving matchbooks around in a threatening manner, let me know. Until then, I'm staying out of the self-immolation business.