I never realized how tough it is to be a displaced sports fan until I moved from the Mid-west to New England eight years ago. It hit me hard when I found that even though every Red Sox game is on NESN, an astounding 75% of the time the FOX game of the week for this area is also the Red Sox! Of course the rest of the time it is the Yankees. And of course it’s the same with ESPN.
Before I transplanted to Red Sox Nation, the East Coast Bias was already annoying. Now, as a fan of non-east coast teams living on the east coast, it is truly painful.
Over the years I found that you can throw some money at the problem for some relief. I was dismayed when I lost touch with IU basketball for the first time since before the Season on the Brink season. The creation of the Big Ten Network solved that problem - with a call to Comcast the cable was upgraded to the extra sports package which included the Big Ten Network.
Was it worth the money? I already know that cable costs so much because of ESPN. And now I have to pay more for more sports options? On the other side I was able to watch Victor Oladipo develop from a project player to the second overall pick in the NBA draft.
The upgrade to the sports package with Comcast also helped with the NFL issues. Of course we get the east coast team games on Sundays on the local channels. But I need to see the Bears games. So my first solution was to subscribe to NFL Rewind where you can watch all the games of the season online after all the games are over. This does not help if you want to see the game live. But included in the Comcast upgrade is the NFL Red Zone. I love the Red Zone! If I could tell my 20-year-old self about the Red Zone his head would explode. That youthful self once had three TVs going on Sundays sometimes and would still have to switch back and forth on at least one of those. Note this was only in those special times of year when you would have major sports overlap. The only negative that I can think of for the Red Zone is that there are no commercial for bathroom breaks. That is a great only negative!
I am a Chicago Cubs fan. I have a feeling that a lot of people will soon be calling themselves Cub fans. I’m not a hater and I will welcome them all to the party. But for those of us who had to put up with all the negativity over the years from people who have no idea of what being a true fan is all about, this is a special time.
I find that MLB is the least fan friendly league. When I first moved away from the mid-west one of ways I found to keep connected to my teams was through podcasts. My favorite podcast was CubsCast. I was very upset when MLB shut them down because Cubs was in the name and they had not official connection to the MLB team. This was ridiculous! These guys were giving free promotion to MLB and keeping fans connected. I still have a bitter taste in my mouth when I think of this.
Now the only way anyone can be sure to be able to see all the games they want to see is to subtribe to MLBTV. And I hear that I am lucky to live in an area that is completely outside the Chicago blackout area. My only blackout team is the Red Sox and I don’t have to worry about not being able to see one of their games for sure. NESN is a great network for Red Sox fans. It reminds me of the old days when we could watch almost every Cubs game on WGN. So with MLBTV I have been able to see all the Cubs games so far this season. You may ask how I had the time for that. A great feature of MLBTV is the condensed games. An extra innings games condensed to 17 minutes! It is really all you need.
My sports watching ability is so much stronger now than it was eight years ago. With a little research and willingness to spend some money I can see just about any sporting event no matter where it is happening or who is playing. This is an example of how the world is becoming a much smaller place because of the growth of modern media. We live in a great time to be a sports fan!