Major League Baseball is always in a battle to attract viewers to its product. That’s especially true though during the most important time of the season — the MLB postseason.
That’s because baseball doesn’t own the fall like it owns the summer. When the leaves start to fall and the weather turns crisp, football takes over the lives of a large portion of the sports fandom in each of the remaining markets. In turn, that will create viewership conflicts that MLB has historically lost more often that not.
As Awful Announcing pointed out on Friday, their will be two direct conflicts that could put a major damper on MLB’s postseason’s viewership. Those conflicts involve primetime NFL matchups that will force two of the four remaining MLB fanbases to make tough viewing decisions.
Red Sox vs. Tom Brady and the New England Patriots
On Sunday night, there’s only one MLB game on the schedule and only one NFL game on the schedule. Both will be played in New England.
The Boston Red Sox will host the Houston Astros in Game 2 of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park. First pitch is scheduled for 7:09 p.m. ET. An hour later, Tom Brady and the New England Patriots will host Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs in the highest profile game on the NFL slate during Week 6.
The roughly 45-minute head start could help the Red Sox retain interest. But they’ll also have to play their part by giving fans a reason to stay tuned in. That’s something scheduled starting pitcher David Price has struggled to do during his career in the postseason. His teams are 0-10 in postseason games he’s started, and the Astros tend to feast on left-handed pitching.
If the Patriots were playing just about anyone else, that would help too. The Chiefs come to town as one of the NFL’s only two remaining undefeated teams, and with a young quarterback who would probably be the league MVP if the season ended today. This isn’t just a matchup that will draw in Red Sox fans, it will draw in casual sports fans.
Battle for Wisconsin
Wisconsin sports fans will face the same dilemma on Monday night. The only games in town will be the Milwaukee Brewers visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 3 of the National League Championship Series, and the Green Bay Packers hosting the San Francisco 49ers on “Monday Night Football.”
MLB once again gets a head start with a 7:39 p.m. ET first pitch. But few would argue that Wisconsin is anything other than Packers country. When Aaron Rodgers in under center, televisions will be changing channels.
Perhaps the best MLB can hope for there is a Packers runaway victory. Green Bay is a 9.5-point favorite in Las Vegas.
College football shouldn’t be a problem
With two LCS games on Saturday, college football will pose a threat to MLB’s viewership. Although to a far lesser degree than the NFL games. Game 2 of Dodgers-Brewers will overlap with Georgia-LSU (CBS), Michigan State-Penn State (Big 10 Network) and Washington-Oregon starts (ABC), but should end before the Wisconsin-Michigan showdown.
World Series impact
With the World Series starting on a Tuesday and ending on a Wednesday (weather permitting), MLB’s in a good spot to avoid too much conflict according to Awful Announcing.
They’ll outright miss Thursday Night Football and Monday Night Football. The New Orleans Saints visit the Minnesota Vikings in the lone head-to-head Sunday night NFL game, which won’t overlap with baseball’s premier fanbases too much.
The start of the NBA season could draw some eyes away, particularly when it comes to the Lakers, Rockets and Celtics, but not enough to dent the ratings significantly.
MLB will definitely face an uphill battle for eyeballs during the LCS, but should have time to shine too. Now the question is whether the remaining series have enough appeal to keep fans coming back.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• This Cubs star reportedly turned down a $200 million extension
• It’s free burgers in Milwaukee if Brewers win Game 1
• The Red Sox still believe in David Price for the ALCS
• MLB postseason schedule: How to watch the ALCS and NLCS
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