The first Sunday of the regular season is a great day for any football fan, but fans in Orlando may be feeling particularly good this Sunday, because they’re going to see some good football. For a change.
The Orlando Sentinel reports that the FOX and CBS affiliates in Orlando are turning away from treating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Jacksonville Jaguars as hometown teams. Instead, Orlando viewers will be given whatever the affiliate deems the best game of the day. That means the FOX affiliate will show Packers-Bears and the CBS affiliate will show Ravens-Broncos tomorrow. The Bucs-Titans game and the Jaguars-Panthers game will be shown by the Tamp and Jacksonville affiliates, respectively, but not in Orlando.
“We try to pick the best games that the majority of people want to see and we think that’s the Ravens-Broncos,” the general manager of the Orlando CBS affiliate said. “You can’t go wrong by showing the best game.”
As noted by Joe Bucs Fan, Orlando used to be considered a secondary market for the Buccaneers and Jaguars, meaning that the Orlando affiliates would show the Bucs and Jags games each Sunday. But years of losing by those two teams has taken its toll. Orlando fans want to watch better football than the Bucs and Jags have provided.
The NFL is strongly committed to showing every team for free, over the air, in its local market. So there’s no chance of the Jacksonville affiliate pulling the plug on the Jaguars or the Tampa affiliate pulling the plug on the Buccaneers. But the NFL has also shown some flexibility in its approach to TV, by eliminating blackouts and shifting some Sunday schedules to allow the best games to be seen by the largest audiences. That’s a good thing for fans in places like Orlando.