The Toronto Blue Jays are a big market team, even if the MLB will not admit it.
Of the remaining teams, only the L.A. Dodgers have had better attendance than the Jays.
Toronto has a higher population than all but three American cities, all of which are in the playoffs. But all three of these cities have multiple teams, which would imply that the fan base is split.
And in the case of the Dodgers, they are surrounded with neighboring teams, with California being home to five teams. On the otherhand, the Jays are Canada’s sole team, and the support coast to coast has been proven by the insane number of fans that invade opposing ball parks (look no further than the most recent Seattle Mariners series). Some could argue the Jays reside in a market of over 35 million.
If the Jays fanbase is so far reaching, why is it that despite being matched up against the Texas Rangers who call Dallas their home (a top-ten populated city in the United States with over a million residents), all of the Jays games are in the least coveted time slots?
Of the three game times determined, the Jays are playing on either the afternoon during the week, or the late night game on Sunday, up against Sunday Night football. Look no further than Game 1; Toronto has a population of roughly 2.7 million, and Dallas has roughly 1.3 million. Even if you ignore the mass Canadian appeal, that total 4 million vastly outnumbers Boston and Cleveland which combined barely crack 1 million.
The reason is simple, the American television networks cannot leverage Canadian viewers to potential advertisers. To the AT&T or Allstate Insurances of the world, the Jays fans are invisible. Canadians will tune into the same feed, but it will be fed to them through Sportsnet, which will pay for the right to air the game, but likely pennies in comparison to what prime time advertisers will pony up.
Its a sad reality, but one that has no clear solution in sight. So Jays fans, get your streams ready and cross your fingers that your employers are fans as well and take mercy on you during 1pm starts.
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Follow author: @MarkStaniusz