Friday, February 18, 2005

I Want My 'A' TV!

I realize I just severely dated myself with that poor MTV reference from back when there was music on Music Television. But it was that or some lame Mr. T reference with regard to the 'A-Team'. Gotta love the '80's. But I digress as usual.

The LA Times
interviewed Angel owner Arte Moreno this week and the Head Halo let it be known that if he could not find a local outlet to broadcast Angel games in 2006 (the Angels deal with local Channel 9 expires after this year when they will begin televising Dodger games) he may just decide to start his own cable channel. Certainly not a new idea, the Cubs and Braves have long-standing deals with cable channels WGN and TBS respectively which show their games nationally. In recent years the Yankess (YES Network) and Red Sox (NESN) have added considerable cash to their respective bottom-lines by starting their own TV stations. Next season the Mets will join the club by starting a channel in partnership with Time Warner & Comcast.

The reasons for wanting their own station are clear. Moreno is miffed that, according to him, the Angels have one of the worst TV contracts in the majors with smaller market teams like the Brewers getting more TV payola. Of course in Milwaukee there is "Packer season" and "Not-Packer Season" which means most Wisconsin sports enthusiests would sit and watch competitive knitting if beer and brats were somehow involved. Moreno goes on to claim that the Mariners receive three times what the Angels do in their television package. Apparently for a cool $250 million the Angels could buy Channel 56, a station already available on most Southland cable systems. Personally I would rather see Arte start a fresh channel rather than go with Channel 56. For some reason the that particular broadcaster has always reminded me of the station in 'Weird' Al Yankovik's cinematic tour-de-force "UHF". Except that instead of Michael Richards' mentally challenged kiddie show host they had Wally George and Dr. Gene Scott. Now there's an interesting idea to spruce-up "Angels in the Infield": Team-up Dr. Gene with Rex Hudler and Michael Richards and let the sparks fly! This week on a very special "Angels in the Infield" Dr. Gene laughs it up with former Angel Jose Guillen on why he was such a devil while with the Angels and why he is going 'straight to hell' and then Rex and Kramer make an omelette with Jeff DeVanon!

This all actually goes back to Moreno's dream of transforming the Angels into a big market team with all the cash that comes with that. The question becomes, can the Angels fan base support an entire station on their own?. Even more importantly, will I be able to get this station in Arizona? Or is this a just a bargaining chip ala ESPN-West? Moreno calls the television contracts he inherited from former owner Disney "little league" with only the former Montreal Expos generating less television revenue than the Angels.

This should be encouraging to Angel fans because it gets to the heart of what gives a team the resources to remain competitive: generating more revenue. Yes, it is the cold side of the business but it is why the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets were all able to go out and re-load this off-season. While the Angels will likely not entire that elite stratosphere of spending, a 20% increase in revenue would allow the Angels to sign a couple more marquee players that could put them into the playoffs every year for the rest of this decade.


Blogger Uncle Al said...

FYI, several years ago the Oakland Athletics had a marketing theme of, yep, what else? "The A's Team."

9:20 PM  
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