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Twins' broadcasts move solely to Fox Sports North

Local Minnesota Twins fans who rely on broadcast TV to bring them weekend games on My 29/WFTC will have to pay up or find a different way to spend their Sunday afternoons this upcoming season.

Local Minnesota Twins fans who rely on broadcast TV to bring them weekend games on My 29/WFTC will have to pay up or find a different way to spend their Sunday afternoons this upcoming season.

Fox Sports North announced on February 16 that it has reached an agreement with the Twins to become the exclusive home of Twins baseball. FSN will air a total of 150 games in 2011. Those without cable or satellite will still be able to see an additional eight games that are scheduled to be a part of Fox Saturday Baseball broadcasts.

But anyone who relied on WFTC to bring them their Twins games on Sunday afternoons will be out of luck when the team opens up the regular season on April 1 in Toronto.

"The first thing I thought was, well, there goes Sunday," President of Selective TV, Inc. Jim Borgrud said. "I don't know. They want it all, all the pay. It was good for us because at least people got one game a week."

Selective TV, Inc. is a non-profit broadcast organization in the Alexandria area that transmits channels for free over standard UHF television frequencies. The organization offers 15 basic analog and two digital stations and relies completely on free-will donations from its viewers.

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Borgrud estimated close to 5,000 people in the area still rely on Selective TV. That number has decreased dramatically in the last 20 years as cable and satellite companies continue to offer more and more options for their viewers. Borgrud sees the latest loss of Twins games as another hit for the organization.

"Everything affects us," he said. "It's just another nail. This is a world that is going to high-end sports."

Twins president Dave St. Peter called the move inevitable in an interview with the Minneapolis Star Tribune in February. He said almost half of the major league teams have already gone down this path and predicted the rest of the league would follow by the 2014 season.

Television deals are an integral part of any team's economic success. Cable networks are willing to pay big money for exclusive rights because they are able to maximize their investment through both subscription and advertising dollars.

The deal with FSN is good news for those who already have packages that carry the network. Those fans will be able to see 158 out of the 162 regular season games this season. Local providers like Charter, Dish Network and DirecTV offer FSN on their lower-level extended packages but not on their basic packages.

The loss of games on broadcast TV could have more people tuning into Twins games on the radio. KULO 94.3 FM is the Twins affiliate in Alexandria. The local station carried 10 spring training games this March and will air all 162 regular-season games and into the playoffs.

"I agree that those people that used to watch WFTC on Sunday very likely will be listening to the games on COOL 94.3," General Manager at KULO/KIKV Dave Vagle said. "Radio and baseball are a very good combination. You can listen and envision all of the action in your mind. Some of my favorite summer memories as a kid were listening to the games with my dad, while fishing or just sitting out in the yard."

It remains one of the only options left for some fans across Twins Territory.

Related Topics: LAKERS
Eric Morken is a sports and outdoor editor at the Echo Press Newspaper in Alexandria, Minnesota, a property of the Forum News Service. Morken covers a variety of stories throughout the Douglas County area, as well as statewide outdoor issues.
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