As 'Eaters FanShots for us, Cox Communications has confirmed that they are out of the race for broadcasting the 2012 San Diego Padres. It's the end of an era.
I've already made my peace with the fact that Channel 4, as we know it, will be no more. Maybe some of you held out crazy hope beyond hope, but it's not to be. Cox has made layoffs. As we speak, Johnny Weisbarth is texting me to see if I need a babysitter for the boys. Jenny Cavnar just offered to do the GameThread writeups. Bob Scanlan asked if I needed to buy any hair.
The dream that I had in the back of my mind of turning Gaslamp Ball into a ridiculous Channel 4 show actually took a turn for the more likely. They're gonna have to fill that thing with programming, and there's only so much Sam the Cooking Guy to go around.
Now the question is, where do the Padres end up? The most obvious choice is Fox Sports. From what I can see, Fox Sports could put the Padres on in San Diego as part of their overall lineup and just broadcast Padres games in place of blacked out Dodger and Angels games.
Here's the problem with that. Do you have Fox Sports West? Neither do I. Maybe I do. Who knows. I definitely don't have Prime Ticket, which is how Fox splits their sports programming when there's overlap. Any problems that Time Warner had in broadcasting Padres games because of Cox are currently doubled since Fox Sports West (allegedly) charges such a premium for programming. Neither Time Warner nor Cox Communications carries Fox Sports West in San Diego because they claim it's too expensive.
Now obviously, the previous value of Fox Sports West is cut significantly because they aren't allowed to broadcast the Dodgers or the Angels in San Diego. The incentive wasn't there to just offer up the other sporadic LA sports to San Diego. However, the question then becomes, are the Padres actually worth it?
Having a crap season this year following a great season last year was ill luck for the Padres. Ideally, a winner, good attendance and strong ratings would've been good bargaining chips for a new TV deal. In the light of the 2011 season, I'm not so sure that Cox or Time Warner would give any indication of changing their collective minds about FSW just because the Padres were there. Cox has said that they plan to accommodate the next rights holder and maybe they will, but if FSW is really as expensive as the cable companies claim, then we'll probably end up in the 300s to watch Padres games.
On the flip side, the deal supposed to be worth upwards of $30 million and should get the Padres broadcast to a wider potential audience. It will be interesting to see exactly how it shakes down.