Here is an article about ESPN’s East Coast bias, especially when it comes to showing baseball games.
Here is a chart showing the ratings and frequency of teams appearing on ESPN broadcasts.
This basically confirms what I knew, but still annoys me. The Yankees and the Red Sox get the best ratings, thus they are shown most often. Obviously, both teams have a national following along with the Cubs. The early start time on the West Coast also hurts the chance for West Coast fans to see the first part of a game.
It might a little when the Red Sox are on the wrong end of the standings.
Having said that, of course, this is a self-fulfilling prophecy. ESPN claims to broadcast All Red Sox and Yankees, All the Time because it gets ratings, but one of the reasons it does is that ESPN is known as the Red Sox/Yankees Channel. If you’re not a Red Sox or Yankees fan, you have less reason to watch ESPN, 98% of the time you can catch your team on their local broadcasts.
“Well, this is what gets ratings” is the fallback excuse, but if the media was perfect at predicting this sort of thing, no TV show would be cancelled halfway through its first season. ESPN might be able to get better ratings in the long run with a more national approach, but we’ll never find out until the Red Sox go 64-98 a few times and interest in them drops. Look at how Yankee ratings have dropped in 2008; that’s surely due to them being a mediocre squad, and more mediocrity will drop that further.