Division Series - Criticism of Scheduling

Criticism of Scheduling

There has been some criticism on how Major League Baseball schedules Division Series games. Teams with large national fan followings like the New York Yankees are almost always scheduled to play in prime time at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT to generate the highest TV ratings. As a result, West Coast teams generally have to play on the road at 1 p.m. ET/10 a.m. PT when many of their fans are unable to watch the game because they are at work or school. Conversely, when games on the West Coast are played at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT, many fans on the East Coast are unable to watch a game in its entirety, due to games ending around 1 a.m. ET/10 p.m. PT, while most West Coast fans are able to watch the entire game.

However, during the inaugural and 1995 seasons, the Division and League Championship Series was aired by the league's television operation, The Baseball Network, a syndication package between ABC and NBC. In order to increase viewership, all games were played in primetime at consistent times, and each affiliate of the network carrying the series could only air one of the games each night, determined by the station's area. While this prevented the issue of afternoon games (and did, as planned, increase viewership), the plan drew ire from critics for not allowing viewers to choose the games they want to watch during the post-season.

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