The AAA-level of baseball has become something of an anomaly for Major League Baseball. The 30 teams in the International League and Pacific Coast League are basically just a sitting point for players who want be to be in the majors and players who are disappointed that they are not in the majors.
These players play in small parks, get paid less and even have to take more buses than chartered airplanes across long distances. The front office executives are less about the team than just the marketing, as all of the work in terms of players is dealt with the MLB team. It sucks, but that is baseball in this day and age.
That said, there is something else that would potentially help make the Triple-A affiliates much more profitable. For those who live in the markets this applies to, it is noticeable that the media attached to the minors is of mediocre quality. Videos are not always high-definition and at times, websites such as this have to use personally-shot videos to see some of the highlights of the minors. This is 2016. Why cannot every AAA affiliate have three to four cameras for high-definition built around the park?
AAA baseball does cover some medium to even large-sized metropolitan areas. Cities such as Charlotte, Sacramento, Memphis, Nashville and Las Vegas are all pretty major markets and have many sponsorship opportunities. While they could not shoot 140 games, it would be nice to see the television affiliate of the Majors team have a crew in the cities of their AAA affiliate. As long as there is a truck able to produce games and a booth for television people to work, the majors can broadcast the games on local affiliates live every night and day and on days where there would be no game, a select game can be run live of AAA in its place.
To give an idea what I mean:
- Albuquerque Isotopes – ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain (COL)
- Buffalo Bisons – Rogers SportsNet (TOR)
- Charlotte Knights – Comcast Sports Network Chicago (CWS)
- Colorado Springs SkySox – Fox Sports Wisconsin (MIL)
- Columbus Clippers – SportsTime Ohio (CLE)
- Durham Bulls – SunSports Florida (TBR)
- El Paso Chihuahuas – Fox Sports San Diego (SDP)
- Fresno Grizzlies – ROOT Sports Southwest (HOU)
- Gwinnett Braves – Fox Sports Southeast (ATL)
- Indianapolis Indians – ROOT Sports Pittsburgh (PIT)
- Iowa Cubs – Comcast Sports Network Chicago (CHC)
- Las Vegas 51s – SportsNet New York (NYM)
- Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Comcast Sports Network Philadelphia (PHI)
- Louisville Bats – Fox Sports Ohio (CIN)
- Memphis Redbirds – Fox Sports Midwest (STL)
- Nashville Sounds – Comcast Sports Network Bay Area (OAK)
- New Orleans Zephyrs – Fox Sports Florida (MIA)
- Norfolk Tides – Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (BAL)
- Oklahoma City Dodgers – SportsNet Los Angeles (LAD)
- Omaha Storm Chasers – Fox Sports Kansas City (KCR)
- Pawtucket Red Sox – New England Sports Network (BOS)
- Reno Aces – Fox Sports Arizona (ARI)
- Rochester Red Wings – Fox Sports North (MIN)
- Round Rock Express – Fox Sports Southwest (TEX)
- Sacramento River Cats – Comcast Sports Network Bay Area (SFG)
- Salt Lake Bees – Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket (ANA)
- Scranton/Wilkes–Barre RailRiders – YES Network (NYY)
- Syracuse Chiefs – Mid-Atlantic Sports Network 2 (WAS)
- Tacoma Rainiers – ROOT Sports Northwest (SEA)
- Toledo Mud Hens – FOX Sports Detroit (DET)
Why should this be advocated?
There are a couple reasons. First off, there is no question that the Major League teams are making money from television deals. The affiliates do have the money to hire some people to work for the AAA affiliate. Second, the money made to make the affiliate televised would help to raise money for the team and in return raise player salaries in the minors, which are extremely anemic.
Third, the sponsorship would be beneficial for the team in general when exposed on a national platform. Fourth, and this might be a stretch, but the idea is that fans might have a better understanding of the minor leagues when being able to watch more baseball.
The International League and Pacific Coast League would look into the possibility of having their All-Star Game and National Championship game held on a national platform live with more sponsorship and the ability to showcase on a national level, maybe ESPN. If we can profit from a bunch of 10-12 year olds, why can we not benefit from a bunch of young prospects and veterans playing for their own sake on a different level where more excitement among the general fan base is located?