January 01, 2006

customer hostile programming

The kids are napping, the storm’s approaching, and all I want to do is watch some meaningful football.  So I sit down on the sofa, catch the last 30 seconds of the Carolina / Atlanta game, and get ready for the second half of the Fox doubleheader, which is Washington / Philadelphia, a game with playoff implications.  Woo hoo! Red blooded American male entertainment. 

Which is then pre-empted by reruns of Taxi on our local affiliate, KTVU.  Not that there’s anything wrong with Taxi, mind you.  It’s just not Washington v. Philadelphia.  Armed with my phone, I go searching online for KTVU’s number to give them some red blooded American male vitriol via voice.  But instead of their number, I end up finding this story:

Fox Sports has a scheduled its usual football double header for the first day of the year, but because of NFL rules, KTVU Fox Channel 2 will be unable to broadcast the second game.  Because the SanFrancisco 49ers are playing at home in a game that is being aired locally, competing stations are not allowed to show other NFL games in the same time slot.

This is obviously nuts.  I figure the rule’s intended to protect the television revenue of the local franchise, but the Bay Area’s two losing teams this year pretty much guaranteed that the only non-PPV NFL programming was of Really Lousy Football.  It’s doubly nuts today – it’s the last week of the season, and the 49ers aren’t even fighting for the honor of the first pick in the draft.  Playoffs start next week; the NFL should be using this week to build an audience to sustain them through Super Bowl Sunday.  Instead, we’re stuck watching a game that the local fans can’t even bother to show up for – as I watch the Niners are playing to a 1/2 empty stadium.

It’s an NFL world, and we’re living in it.