CHICAGO -- When the Tigers released their TV schedule for this season over the winter, they had 161 games slated to air between Fox Sports Detroit, FOX and ESPN. The lone game not scheduled for broadcast at that point was a Sept. 17 game in Oakland that fell within the FOX national window for exclusive broadcasts.
Few could've imagined then how much might ride on that game now. Depending on how the next few days unfold, it could potentially be a clinching game for the Tigers to wrap up their first division title in 24 years. With those implications now clear, the game could end up on the air after all.
"The possibility still exists," Tigers vice president of communications Ron Colangelo said on Tuesday.
Tim Bryant, director of media relations for Fox Sports Detroit, said basically the same thing.
"Needless to say, it's on the radar of us and the Tigers," Bryant wrote in an email.
The FOX blackout doesn't come up very often with the Tigers, who have had a fair number of Saturday games on the network as a regional broadcast this summer. When FOX has its games on the air Saturday, no other games can be broadcast in that same three-hour window. That's why a lot of teams schedule 1:05 p.m. games when FOX has games slated for 4:05 or, earlier in the year, 7:05. It's also why the Tigers ended up not having a mid-May game in Pittsburgh on the air when the Pirates chose a 7:05 start time.
For this Saturday's visit from the Tigers, the A's chose a day game -- a 1:05 p.m. start local time, or 4:05 p.m. ET. FOX has three games scheduled for regional broadcasts, but Tigers-A's isn't one of them.
To get the game on FOX Sports Detroit, the Tigers and the network would need to get FOX to waive its exclusivity rights. If there's a lot riding on that game, it's a possibility. From a logistics standpoint, that would seem easier than getting a FOX crew in, since FSD will have its crew in town already.