Tampa Bay Rays: Not Much in Way of National Television Coverage
When you win, your team gets the National Coverage, however, when you are the Tampa Bay Rays, National Coverage takes a back seat.
Every Tampa Bay Rays fan can’t wait to watch their team on TV this season. With a lot a new players on the roster and a good pitching staff still in place it looks to be a promising season.
If you live in Tampa or even Florida, you will be able to catch most of the games on Sun Sports or Fox Sports Florida. However, if you live out of state it will be tough watching the Tampa Bay Rays on TV this season.
The Tampa Bay Rays has never gained the national respect and has not ever had many games nationally broadcasted. It is frustrating as a fan, but you cannot really blame the media since attendance has always been an issue for the Rays. Since the local fans do not come out to the games then why would ESPN care to broadcast it?
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The only way out-of-state fans are able to watch the games are when the Rays play a team who has local coverage from within that region over that area’s local broadcast network. Other means of watching the Rays are available; however, they are through paid subscriptions.
Other than that, National Coverage takes a back seat when it comes to the Rays. This season, only four games are scheduled for National television and two of them are Spring Training games, one of which is only available through a paid subscription. The remaining two will be available nationally, with the most notable being Opening Day when the Rays host the Yankees.
Rays 2017 National Schedule
Tuesday March 21st Rays at Pirates at 1:05pm on MLB Network
Thursday March 23rd Rays vs Yankees at 1:05pm on ESPN
Sunday April 2nd Rays vs Yankees at 1:10pm ESPN (opening day)
Monday May 29th Rays at Rangers at 8:05pm on Fox Sports 1
As a fan, you cannot be completely mad at ESPN and other networks for not showing the Rays games. They make money on the viewers and rating. After struggling last season and a smaller fan base than the larger market teams, this is likely the main reasons for not showing more games nationally.
However, things can change if the team produces good results this season. The networks can flex some Ray’s games in and if we make the playoffs then of course those games will all be on national TV.
While it will not be on national TV, the Rays play the Cubs a handful of times this season and every Rays fan will look forward to these games. Not only because the Cubs are the defending World Series Champions, but also they get to face their former longtime manager Joe Maddon. Maddon still lives in Tampa Bay and owns a restaurant in Tampa and where he spends most of his offseason. Also on the Cubs roster are a Wade Davis and Ben Zobrist who are ex-Rays players.
The first time the Rays square off against the Cubs will be a two games series on July 4th and July 5th, in Chicago. Then Joe Maddon makes his much-anticipated return to Tropicana Field in another two games series on September 19th and 20th.
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These games will draw a large crowd because most fans still love Maddon as a manager for all he did for the city and how he turned the team around leading them to the World Series in 2008.