Millions could miss the World Series as Cablevision, Fox squabble

At least 3 million households in the United States will be unable to watch the 2010 Major League Baseball (MLB) World Series championship games, as Fox and Cablevision are still unable to reach a distribution agreement.

Cablevision subscribers have missed out on Fox content as both sides squabble, although there was some hope the World Series wouldn’t be blacked out. Millions could miss the World Series as Cablevision, Fox squabble

Game 1 of the World Series begins from San Francisco Wednesday afternoon, with Cablevision trying to “ensure that our customers are not deprived of the World Series,” noted company CEO James Dolan.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) won’t get involved in the current spat, even though both companies issued official statements to government lawmakers.

In his letter to the FCC, Dolan said his company is ready to go back to the bargaining table, but only if the FCC is able to act as a mediator between two sides. The FCC responded by telling Dolan to end the stunts and posturing so actual negotiations can take place — but there is very little the FCC can do to force Fox to end the blackout.

To be fair, some sports experts are noting World Series viewership may be down this year as the San Francisco Giants and Texas Rangers play for the World Series championship. Even so, it’s a shame as many as 3 million US viewers will have to deal with a blackout — and Fox could strong-arm another broadcaster by the end of the week.

Unless the FCC becomes involved, it’s likely the Dish Network will also face a blackout by the end of the week, which may prevent a few more million households from watching the World Series.

It’s an interesting tactic for Fox — especially at a time when sports analysts are unsure how popular the Giants vs. Rangers matchup will be. As cable broadcasters fight for carefully invested advertising money that is being more during a down economy, Fox may feel it has some type of significant legal advantage over the Dish Network and others.