How bad are the Indianapolis Colts? So bad that a FOX affiliate in Fort Wayne, Indiana, with only two opportunities at most per year to televise Colts games given the manner in which Sunday games are divvied up between the networks, opted to pass on Sunday’s game between the Panthers and Colts.
Per Justin Cohn of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, the local FOX affiliated opted to televise the 4:05 p.m. ET game between the Bears and Raiders instead of the 1:00 p.m. ET Colts home game.
Since it was a CBS doubleheader weekend, FOX channels had to choose between an early game or a late one.
League spokesman Dan Masonson told the Journal Gazette that the decision complies with league rules. Since Fort Wayne is a “secondary market” for the Colts, it’s required only to televise Indianapolis road games. And since any Sunday afternoon Indianapolis road games would always be televised by CBS, the FOX affiliate never will have its hands tied that way.
Making the decision even more curious is the fact that the game represented perhaps the Colts’ last, best chance to win a game this year.
Station president and G.M. Jerry Giesler told the Journal Gazette that the affiliate was flooded with calls. “It would be crazy for me to try to say we got more in support of [our decision] than there were against us,” Giesler said. “But we’re broadcasters. Our signal heads west toward Chicago and there were a lot of people who loved what we did as well as a lot of people within the city limits who did too.”
If the Colts had been set to host a team that would have blown them out, the decision would have made more sense. With the Colts playing a team that struggles on the road, the Indy game could have carried a larger audience deeper into the contest.
It seems like the decision was more about making a public statement about the state of the franchise. That’s fine, but it did a disservice to the bulk of the Indiana-based audience.