In an extremely embarrassing gaffe for the Kansas City Royals, their Saturday game with the Detroit Tigers will air on tape delay in the Detroit market (and not air at all in the local Kansas City market) because the team scheduled the game at 7:10 PM eastern time, in Fox’s primetime exclusivity window for MLB. Because the game isn’t available nationally on Fox, local fans won’t be able to watch the game broadcast until 10 PM – joined either in progress, or on tape delay.
There were plenty of possible fixes here. The Royals could have pushed the game time up to 4 PM eastern, allowing it to air in local markets without issue. Fox could have selected the game for its Saturday night package, teamed one announcer from each of their local affiliates, and only aired the game in the two markets.
There’s no immediate word on whether or not the game will be able to be streamed live on MLB.tv (there’s a link for Fox Sports Detroit’s feed up, but until the game starts, we have no idea of knowing whether or not it will actually work). The Royals had no problem starting their Saturday home games on June 21st and 28th earlier in the day, outside of Fox’s window. They aired their game on June 7th in the window, and Fox actually picked it up.
I know some teams have TV contracts that don’t allow every one of their games to air (hello, Diamondbacks, Athletics, and Rockies, to name three). But this situation is just ridiculous. The Tigers draw some of the strongest local ratings in MLB, and their second to last game before the All-Star Break won’t be on live in the market because the Royals aren’t changing the start time and Fox isn’t throwing Detroit a bone? That’s pretty ridiculous, and it’s a damn shame that no one did anything to alleviate this issue before it reached this point.