The image above is the Florida portion of Major League Baseball’s territorial map [via Bleed Cubbie Blue]. HERE is the complete map.

From what we understand this map is used to determine which games are blacked out in specific areas on MLB.tv. We assume this also applies to coverage through “MLB Extra Innings” packages (can somebody verify that?). Specifically, anywhere you see a “TBD” on the map (blue, yellow, green), you would be unable to watch Tampa Bay Rays games through MLB.tv or “Extra Innings”.

According to the map, the Rays’ territory includes roughly everything in Florida north of Cocoa Beach on the east coast and Naples on the west coast. For some reason, The Rays territory also includes southwest Alabama. It’s true. We assume that is the equivalent of staking a claim to Easter Island. Most of the people in SW Alabama probably don’t even know the Rays exist.

According to the Rays, 142 games will be broadcast live in Florida with the games nearly evenly split between Fox Sports Florida and local networks that broadcast games from the Rays TV Network. What we don’t know is how many of these games are available to Rays fans throughout the state of Florida.

Are there areas (Gainesville, Tallahassee) where some or all of these games are not available?

Can anybody shed some light on this for those of us that are fortunate enough to not be living in the state of Florida during baseball season? It seems strange to us that almost every single game will be available to us when we are splitting our time between Texas and New York City and yet there might be fans in north Florida that cannot see some or all of the games because of blackout restrictions. Or why more games would be available to somebody living in West Palm Beach.

Of course the biggest surprise of this map, is that Tampa/St. Pete is not considered part of the Yankees territory.

Check Local Listings For The Games In Your Area [Bleed Cubbie Blue]
MLB takes action to reduce TV blackouts [Yahoo! Sports]
Rays unveil 2008 TV schedule [MLB]
Remapping Florida Within The United Countries Of Baseball [Rays Index]

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13 Comments

  1. Austin says:

    In Gainesville, a lot of games are unavailable. We are seeing a major increase in games we can watch this year but it is still nowhere near the full amount. I believe there are some threads on www.raysbb.com that discuss this topic in the general forum (just checked, there are a few on the first page, here's a link to the Gainesville discussion: http://www.raysbb.com/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8802)
    I thought the market was determined to include your area only if it were possible for you to travel to a home game, not a likely thing for people in Mobile.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    i live in niceville florida, which is in the panhandle of florida between panama city and pensacola. We are in the central time zone up here, an hour behind you all in tampa. i am a south florida native (venice) and lived in tampa for college and the subsequent 20's years. i love the rays, and we only get the games on fsn up here. i have direct tv, and i am willing to pay for extra innings, or mlbtv, but all the games are blacked out. i have written numerous emails to mlb, but to no avail. The only way i can watch all the games is if I were to get a mega satellite that reached all the way to tampa for the local channels (450 mile). I am a person willing to pay for a product like the NFL ticket, but mlb wont bite, so i only get about 60 games a year. Sux...Larry

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  3. The Professor says:

    thanks for the link...in the old days all blackout restrictions were in place to ensure people went to the games first, watched on TV second.

    but that is not the case in baseball. as all the "local" games are still broadcast whether it is a sellout or not.

    the other difference is in football, where you see local blackouts, the TV contracts are done by the league. In baseball, teams have their own TV contracts. So it is the team's best interest to NOT blackout games on local networks or they wouldn't get contracts.

    Sooooo...in baseball the purpose of blackouts on national coverage (MLB.tv, Extra Innings) is to ensure that fans are tuning in to the local networks first.

    BUT, as you mention, the local networks are not available everywhere which means some of the team's fans have no access to some games while people in Alaska have access to all the games whether they are a fan or not.

    that my friends is not the best way to increase a team's fanbase.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    i know this is not the best solution in the world, but with MLB.tv at least you get the games as soon as they are over. So if you are willing to wait until 10, you get the entire game. not ideal obviously, but still its the game.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    what would happen if you bought a Directv system in another state. like at a relative's hometown and just have the bill sent to that address and pay the bill online.

    that should get you around the blackouts. probably illegal. but should work.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    In Tallahasse, we only get the FSN games.

    Every game is blacked out on .tv or extra innings

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  7. Katie says:

    I've heard of people in the midwest that are in just the right spots to be blacked out from six different teams. (Both Chi clubs, Brewers, Twins, Cards and Royals). Even though obviously, not all of those teams even broadcast in the same areas. Pretty ridiculous.

    A proxy will work to get around the mlb.tv restricts, though.

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  8. Scott says:

    I live in Orlando, and I get it even worse - I ONLY get the ION games because Brighthouse doesn't offer FSN: Florida. It's the most ridiculous thing in the world. I can't get a dish to get FSN: Florida because of the way my apartment complex is laid out. Truly dumb.

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  9. Gary Jackson says:

    I live in Birmingham and spent 6 years in the Tampa Bay area and love the Rays as well. I just signed up to the sports pack on DTV to watch some games and of course the 3 games this week against the Orioles were blacked out. I sure hope I'll be able to watch some of them...otherwise the subscription is worthless!

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The situation is ridiculous. In Gainesville, even if you get Extra Innings, and the game is on ESPN2, you cannot get it, because it is only broadcast on ION locally and it is blacked out even though it is available on NESN and ESPN2 if you live outside the TB area. We cannot get the game therefore on any network or any package. MLB is worse than any totalitarian government today in terms of their bureaucratic pigheadedness. They truly suck.

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  11. The Professor says:

    This post is a little dated...We have since learned that MLB is planning on dumping all of the blackout restrictions next season. So it would not be blacked out on ESPN or Fox or MLB.tv or Extra Innings if you can't get it on your local network.

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  12. Ragin Rick says:

    long time rays fan here in lower alabama. I got something for blackouts and MLB. I have left the execs at MLB hundreds of messages over the last 3 years about not getting national games because of blackouts.

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