The Herald’s Jessica Heslam has a story this morning where she reports on some local TV stations that will be forgoing the customary trips to Red Sox spring training next month due to the economy.
Channel 7 (WHDH) will not be sending anyone down to Fort Myers, while FOX25 may not send sports anchor Butch Stearns, or anyone else.
Channel 4 (WBZ) will be scaling back their live coverage from Florida, while Channel 5 (WCVB) plans on staying consistent with what they’ve done in the past. NECN will also be sending someone down, but it isn’t clear who that will be just yet.
NESN, the TV home of the Red Sox is expanding their coverage this spring, and Comcast SportsNet has big plans as well. They’ve grabbed Lou Merloni from NESN for baseball coverage this season and will also be broadcasting Sports Tonight live (with an audience) from the Pink Shell resort on Fort Myers beach the week of Feb. 16th. The look of their coverage is always distinctive, and different from the other stations which usually just broadcast from the practice field, or at the hotel pool.
For the local TV stations, I think it is a wise move to reduce or eliminate the spring training coverage. The sports segments are already shortened, it can’t make any business sense to spend big money for a couple minutes each night.
For the sports networks like NESN and CSN, it makes more sense to keep going down there because they’re doing entire shows on location, and the return on the investment is much higher, as they can spend more time interviewing players and other guests and give them more airtime than the TV stations are able to do.