While Fox’s entertainment side will be pleased to have less playoff baseball in prime time beginning this fall, Fox Sports chief Ed Goren says the affiliates were also very happy to see the network add more Saturday games under its new seven-year Major League Baseball deal.
"All of our affiliates were thrilled that we were expanding our season to the full 26 weeks," he says.
Under terms of the new deal , the network will now carry 26 Saturday "Game of the Week" telecasts, up from 18 in previous years.
"We are finally getting it right and starting at the beginning of the season," Goren says.
Fox will go on the air each Saturday with a 3:30 pm ET pre-game show, with the game coverage beginning at 3:55 in hopes of getting off the air to give affiliates their air back by 7 p.m.
The network kicks off its new package this weekend with regional coverage featuring Minnesota Twins-Chicago White Sox, New York Mets-Atlanta Braves and San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers.
The same deal saw Fox relinquish rights to the first round of the playoffs and one of the two League Championship Series semi-final rounds. Fox’s entertainment side has long said that the extended interruptions in the fall when the network carried the comprehensive package has played a major role in its fourth quarter struggles.