Usually, a sports franchise is always trying to find new ways to build its fanbase. Whether it's hiring popular coaches(whoops!), signing valuable(riiight...) free agents or playing exhibition games overseas, maximizing your team's visibility and popularity is vital for its longterm success. Which is what makes this Orlando Magic TV so odd.
This summer, the Magic sold the rights to 35 of their games, including 14 of the first 18, to Fox Sports Network/Florida, even though the channel is not offered by Central Florida's largest cable provider, Bright House Networks. Tonight's game is one of the 42 that will be available to Bright House customers on Sun Sports.
Awesome! So, you want to maximize your fanbase, but end up selling the TV rights to almost half of them to a network that many fans, and potential fans, don't receive. And exactly how did this happen?
FSN/Florida has been trying to crack Bright House's local lineup for years and figured snagging the Magic games would mean a spot on Bright House. The Magic assumed that the two sides would be able to reach a deal. But so far, Bright House and FSN/Florida have not come to terms. The biggest hurdle has been the placement of FSN/Florida in Bright House's offerings. FSN/Florida wants its channel included in Bright House's expanded basic cable package while Bright House thinks it belongs in its digital package, which is about $8 more per month.
So, basically the Magic sold their rights without too much consideration as to who would actually be able to view the games if the present structure stayed intact(which it has). And approximately how many viewers are being left in the dark?
Chris Fenger, the president of Bright House Network's Central Florida division, said the Magic created the situation by choosing to air the games on a station they knew wasn't available to 850,000 customers.
Obviously, not all 850k of those customers are Magic fans, but there is probably a decent amount within that segment. I'm sure that whatever the number is they're all thrilled that their favorite NBA team recklessly sold the TV rights and screwed them in the process. With this TV deal in place it's almost as if the Magic have swapped out the N and A for an M and L.