It’s just a matter of time before the Padres finally join the ranks of teams affiliated with a national broadcaster. Granted Fox Sports San Diego will be a regional off-shoot of Fox Sports, the eventual deal is still sure to generate much more revenue for the club than their previous deal with Channel 4 Padres.
From 1997 through 2011, Channel 4 Padres carried the San Diego Padres games in San Diego. We as Padres fans have shared plenty of memories with them. Rick Sutcliffe pretending he wanted to be in a local television booth and his drunken on-air antics, Mark Grant making Mark Grace in Arizona look like a genius, and eventually the hiring of Dick Enberg. There were good memories too. Tony Gwynn will always be welcome on any television broadcast, any network to cover a winning Padres season is OK by us, and hey, any TV is better than radio.
All those memories though, both good and bad, will be what we’re left with when the Padres move to Fox. The move is great for the club. They’re not going to rake in the money the Red Sox and the Yankees do. They’re not even going to pull down what the Dodgers do. However, they will be able to squeeze a few more bucks out of the deal.
Regional coverage of the Padres games will likely be coupled with coverage of Aztecs games, maybe Torero games, and other San Diego-based sporting events. The network Will Carry the weight of a national company, it will promote the Padres in a way Channel 4 Padres couldn’t, it will reach a wider audience, and will retain the local feel of what Padres fans have come to know.
Eventually, the nightmare that is Frank McCourt and the Dodgers will be over. Once that happens, the Padres new television deal can become official. Until then, we can simply look forward to the moment when the Padres hit the big time. The “big time” of course means working with Fox. After all, it worked for American Idol.