Tennis fans cry fault to KSDK

You’d think KSDK-TV in St. Louis was doing the right thing when it decided to drop its Wimbledon coverage to air something they thought was more important, like a Cubs-Cardinals game.

Nah.

The Gannett-owned NBC affiliate shunted the Men’s Final featuring Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to a split-screen while the Cubs-Cardinals game was on and with audio, meaning tennis fans didn’t hear what was going on.

The move generated angry responses from both baseball and tennis fans, with acqusations being lobbed at both KSDK and the Cardinals, since the KSDK contract prevents them from moving the games to another channel because of sports overruns. Advertisers would be upset if this was the case (especially the largest advertiser of Cardinal games – St. Louis-based Anheuser-Busch – St. Louis-based for now.)

One solution was to move the tennis game to a digital sub-channel they had, like Weather Plus on 5.2. It was a nice day in St. Louis on Sunday, wasn’t it? My Network TV affiliate WRBU-TV was also available since it has carried sporting events pre-empted by Cardinals games in the past, but the station wasn’t notified.

And the Cubs-Cards game was also carried nationally on TBS, but was blacked out because of Major League Baseball rules probhiting out-of-town broadcasts if a local outlet holds the rights (except for ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball.)

But whatever the situation, viewers watched. According to a poster on TV Barn, the Wimbledon match earned a 9.8 household rating and 21 household share from 1:45 to 2 p.m. When the Cardinals game started (and the tennis match went to a split-screen), the ratings surged to a 13.8/23.

Of course, this isn’t the first time St. Louis TV viewers were upset about a bone-headed move.

After Super Bowl XL aired, ABC affiliate KDNL-TV – a station with no newscast or news presence – decided to delay a heavily promoted episode of Grey’s Anatomy for a Super Bowl post-game show, despite the fact the St. Louis Rams did not play in the game. The move angered viewers, and complaints poured in to KDNL, parent Sinclair Broadcasting, and TV Critic Gail Pennington’s blog at the Post-Dispatch.

But of course, when money’s involved – you never learn from your mistakes.

But the biggest justification in all this – the Cardinals lost 7-1 to the Cubs, and the Cards fell into a tie for second place with the Milwaukee Brewers – who picked up ace C.C. Sabathia yesterday from Cleveland. Wait ’til next year…

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