TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: For Unlucky Ones, Sox Out of Sight

For Unlucky Ones, Sox Out of Sight

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 29 Jan 2006 22:49:29 -0500

By Dan Shaughnessy, Globe columnist | January 29, 2006

It was an announcement that barely got anyone's attention. A couple of
weeks back, the Red Sox and NESN declared the end of their Friday
night relationship with Channel 38, committing all locally televised
Red Sox games to pay cable.

This means no free television access to the Red Sox in 2006, except
for a handful of games that will be carried nationally on the Fox

For the last three years, people without cable in this market have
been able to watch the Red Sox on Channel 38 on Friday nights.
Twenty-eight games per year. For free. Now if you don't have cable,
you don't have the Red Sox -- except for that random Fox game once a

It's unfortunate. It's also elitist, classist, and probably greedy,
too. The Sox are putting all their games on NESN because it means more
money for the organization. Unfortunately, it takes the team away from
some loyal fans who don't have the cash for cable.

We tend to think we live in a world in which everybody has cable
television and personal computer access. Well, it's not everybody. In
the Boston market, 6-7 percent of homes do not have cable television.
The majority of those households make less than $50,000 per year.

Folks without cable? You know who they are. Probably your elderly aunt
in Cohasset, the one who still has a rotary phone. She loves the Red
Sox. Recently, she's loved them on Friday nights when she can watch
for free. It's the same in a lot of hospitals, shelters, and religious
residences. Not everybody has cable.

According to Scarborough Research, there are 589,635 adults in the
Boston market (Eastern Massachusetts from the Cape to Southern New
Hampshire and as far west as Worcester) without cable or satellite
television. More than 20 percent of the non-cable population is
nonwhite and 51.8 percent is made up of households earning less than
$50,000. Nineteen percent of the non-cable/satellite people are over

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