Here's another one of those ranty, off-the-top-of-my head type of posts. Strap in.
This morning I started to get angry. You know why? Because I live within a 20 minute walk of Petco Park and pay $60 a month for television channels, and yet I cannot get the Padres on my TV. Why? Because I am in Cox Communications area, and Cox says that my residence does not get a good enough "signal" for them to allow me to pay them money. That's funny, I thought this was cable and not satellite. Either way, it was a big middle finger to me. Luckily, I get Chargers games (when they're not blacked out) and SDSU games on DirecTV.
However , on my way to work this morning, I'm listening to the radio and hearing somebody talk about how they'd love to follow San Diego State's fantastic basketball season....but it's hard to do because the channel they broadcast the games on ("The Mountain") is not available on Time Warner Cable.
Rewind for a second. This means that a good half of San Diego County has to choose between either seeing the Padres (on Time Warner) or the Aztecs basketball team (on satellite, if they can get a good signal). How absurd is that? And don't tell me "Just go to a bar", because there are plenty of people that cannot or do no want to go to a bar for every Aztecs game (and nobody can really handle going for every Padres game).
If you are lucky enough to have Cox let you pay them money, you are sitting pretty. Padres games, Chargers games (we'll get there in a second) and Aztecs games are all available for you. Wouldn't it be nice if the other half of the county were allowed to follow San Diego Sports as well? Wouldn't it be nice if Cox Communications weren't specifically trying to ruin sports on TV for all of their non-customers in San Diego?
Oh, I'm sorry, was that too harsh? Consider the following: Cox Communications streams Padres games online, for an extra charge, but only to Cox customers. Why not open it up to everybody, and drown in a pool of money as all of the satellite subscribers pay $20 a month (seriously, it's a third of my normal cable bill for just Padres games) to follow their favorite baseball team? In that same boat, most (if not all) of SDSU's games are streamed on the internet via ESPN3.com. Once again, you can only access these streams if you are a Cox customer.
It seems to me that Cox is hiding behind something. They must be concerned that if they allow anybody to stream Padres and Aztec games, that everyone will cancel their cable subscriptions. Who knows? Maybe they're right. All I know is that they're toying with San Diego sports fans that can not get their service, just to get back at (or win over) those who can and choose not to. How is that supposed to make me feel?
The Chargers are a different story. If was different in the past, but these days they're locked into the same contract as every other NFL team: Sell out the game or the home fans can't watch on TV. Is it fair? No. Is it understandable? To a certain extent. There's only 8 or so home games per season, teams need those seats filled to make money. The NFL needs those seats filled to make money. However, that contract is part of the reason teams are able to put ticket prices so high (and collect such a large profit) and laugh their way to the bank on the backs of sports fans who fear not being able to watch their favorite NFL team play. Still, not the Chargers fault. That's the NFL playing part in what everyone else seems to be doing these days, screwing over the fans that pay the money to build the stadiums, pay the players, buy the equipment and make the teams money. Seems fair.
As fans try and get in on the NFL/NFLPA negotiations for a new CBA, I find myself sitting here wondering how we got so screwed. All we want to do is be fans. All we want is something to kill the hours between dinner and bed, something fun and interesting to watch that is different every day, and the rich people seem intent on milking us dry while still denying half of us what we want. Tickets, cable, parking, food, beer.....we all know that being a sports fan has become an expensive endeavor. Who ever thought it would turn into war between us and the people taking our dollars?