How Many Spring Training Broadcasts Does Your Team Have?
Editor's Note: The Giants' March 8 broadcast was not listed on MLB.tv's schedule, but has been added since it is on the Giants' schedule.
There’s nothing better to remind us that baseball season is right around the corner than the spring training game broadcast. There will be sneak peeks at players on new teams, chances to see who has taken a step forward and who may be headed toward a step back.
And for the regional sports networks (RSNs) that broadcast them, it’s content at excellent times. Most of the games take place during the day, so even if a RSN broadcasts college basketball, pro basketball, pro hockey or other sports, spring training games are usually replacing repeats of old poker tournaments and other types of filler programming.
But how much spring training baseball you as a fan get to watch depends an awful lot on who your team is. Not all spring training games are broadcast on TV, so we counted up all the broadcasts to see which teams’ fan bases are the best served and which get the short end of the stick.
We counted up every home TV broadcast that has aired or is scheduled to air during spring training. It did not matter what channel the broadcast was going to air on, just that a fan of that team could watch the broadcast. So if the game was going to air on MLB.com or that team’s RSN’s alternate channel, it counts.
But we’re not counting broadcasts for the other team. So if the Yankees play the Rays and the YES Network airs the game with Yankees’ broadcasters, that counts as a Yankees broadcast. It does not count for the Rays. In the rare cases where a game is a national broadcast, that counts for both teams. If a team broadcasts both of its split squad games in one day, it gets credit for two broadcasts.
That’s enough of a preamble. The question you most likely want to know is what teams do the best job of airing games for their fans and which do the worst.
If you’re a Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox or Angels fan congratulations, you can get a very good feel for how your team looks in spring training without making a trip to Arizona or Florida.
All four of those teams are televising 25+ spring training games this year. The Dodgers lead the way with 30 broadcasts, the Cubs are right behind at 29, the Red Sox have 27 broadcasts and the Angels have 26.
On the other end of the spectrum, if you’re an Orioles, Nationals, Giants or Rockies fan, the news is much more bleak. Short of booking a trip to spring training yourselves, you’re going to have to rely on either opposing team broadcasts or waiting to April to get a lot of chances to watch your favorite team.
The Orioles and Nationals both sit at the bottom with only four home TV broadcasts for their fan bases. The Rockies have five and the Giants have six.
The Orioles will have one broadcast on March 6, and then won’t have another one until March 18. Broadcasts on March 21 and March 28 will wrap up the schedule. The Nationals don’t have a broadcast until March 11, with another on March 18, March 24 and March 29. By the time the Nationals’ first broadcast airs, a fan of the Dodgers will have been able to watch 13 Dodgers spring training games.
Colorado’s first broadcast won’t be until next week (March 11). They’ll broadcast again on March 18m and then air three games in the final five days of spring training. The Giants have a similar schedule with a first broadcast on March 8, another on March 12, another on March 19 and then three broadcasts from March 23-March 28.
The average MLB team broadcasts 13 spring training games on TV, but the median number of broadcasts is 11, as teams like the Dodgers and Cubs raise the overall average.
Here’s a complete list of how many home broadcasts fans of each team will get during spring training: