Games between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox tend to produce strong national ratings, whether in the regular season or the postseason. And that leads to networks scheduling their regular season games in national slots a whole lot, sometimes arguably too much. Well, that’s not changing with the MLB schedule Fox announced Thursday (for both Fox and FS1): the Yankees and Red Sox will each be featured eight times, along with the Houston Astros and Milwaukee Brewers. The Los Angeles Dodgers have seven appearances, as do the Colorado Rockies, and the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves have six, while the Cleveland Indians have five.
That schedule also includes five games between the Yankees and Red Sox, including the high-profile June 29 game in London. Here’s more from the Fox release:
On Saturday, June 29, FOX Sports goes across the pond to showcase one of baseball’s deepest rivalries in a historic setting with the inaugural Mitel & MLB Present London Series 2019. The network’s exclusive U.S. broadcast on FOX and FOX Deportes will capture the New York Yankees and World Series Champion Boston Red Sox live from London’s Olympic Stadium.
FOX Sports’ regular season national broadcast schedule showcases the top performing teams from last year, with 68 appearances by 2018 Postseason participants. The Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees each appear a total of eight times across the FOX Sports family of networks, with five of those appearances coming head to head. The reigning National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers appear seven times during the upcoming regular season while the Chicago Cubs are featured six times.
Something that’s notable here is that while the Astros and Brewers have the same number appearances on that schedule as the Yankees and Red Sox, they’re not given as prominent slots; only two of the Red Sox games (against the Astros on May 18 and against the Yankees on June 1) are regionalized, with the network also showing other games during that slot, and only one of the other Yankees games (against the Astros on June 22) is split that way. One other Astros game is regionalized, two Rockies games are regionalized, and the Brewers and Braves each have three regionalized games. (Four Cubs’ games are regionalized, for what that’s worth.) So, despite the Yankees falling to the Red Sox in the ALDS, they have more national, non-regionalized slots than ALCS and NLCS participants Houston and Milwaukee, with four of those being Yankees-Red Sox.
There is some logic as to why the schedule turned out this way. As mentioned above, Yankees-Red Sox continues to produce better ratings than anything else in baseball, and so networks are going to keep showing those games to the whole country (despite the many that decision annoys). And there’s actually quite a few games for teams like Milwaukee that don’t always get a lot of national airtime but did well last year, even if more of those games are regionalized than those from the Yankees or Red Sox. But this still won’t please those hoping for different national matchups. Red Sox and Yankees fans will again be well-served, though.