Baseball Telecasting-Big Step

Major League Baseball made in 1965 a concession to the television audience that  actually increased attendance. The club owners contracted to allow the Game of the Week  to all cities across America rather than only those without a franchise.  To avoid conflict with the local team’s radio and television stations,  there was an alternate game sent to both cities involved in the national telecast.   In other words if the Phillies were at the Braves on national television,  a back up game  went to both Philadelphia and Atlanta. There were also games on Memorial Day, the Fourth of July, and Labor Day.

The networks also had a commercial for actual attendance.  This showed batters hitting a ball with the crack of the  bat; players stealing or running around the bases; or fielders making great plays.  The commercial ended with pictures of happy fans cheering and eating popcorn and hot dogs and the announcer saying ” …being there is a whole new ball game…”

ABC began carrying the games and Chris Schenkel was as adept telecasting baseball as he was with pro football on CBS.  I always enjoyed  watching and listening to him.  For some reason by June,  ABC replaced him with Keith Jackson.  Jackson was by far the worst broadcaster for any sport,  anytime, or any place.  This deal with ABC must have been a one year experiment; the Game of the Week moved to NBC the following year with the same arrangement.  Curt Gowdy handled the main game and about I can say for Gowdy is he was better than Keith Jackson.

This innovation from Major League Baseball set the set the stage for the expanded coverage of National Football League in 1966 and for the almost saturation of baseball on television today from early March to the World Series.   It broke a big barrier and attendance increased.


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