The Phillies’ recent (and upcoming) struggles have already knocked them out of many fans’ nighttime plans, as attendance will continue to decline this year. They’ll undoubtedly draw fewer TV viewers as well, as people would rather spend three-hours watching something that matters or BBC series on Netflix. And they’re about to lose the ever-important Harrisburg market (…) because the Phillies’ affiliate out there is gonna broadcast Nationals games instead.
According to PennLive, Sports Radio 96.5 FM will carry the Nationals instead of the Phillies as part of a one-year deal. Ron Giovanniello, regional VP of Cumulus Media Pennsylvania, told PennLive:
“Our agreement was up and we made the decision last week to part ways with the Phillies and flip to the Nationals. Nothing against the Phillies, but clearly the Nationals are a team on the rise. They won the NL East last year and are picked to win it again this year.
Obviously [a winning team] helps in all ways, and they certainly will be a postseason contender that makes a deeper run in the playoffs this year. Unfortunately, I don’t see that in the Phillies’ immediate future.”
Switching from Phillies to Nats makes sense. Kind of. For one, Harrisburg is home to the Nationals’ Double-A affiliate, the Harrisburg Senators. Secondly, the difference in distance to Philadelphia compared to D.C. is about a dozen miles. It’s totally negligible. But there is one thing:
At least according to that Facebook fan map from a while back, Harrisburg is straight-up Phillies territory. In all of the zip codes surrounding the capital, the Phillies are the number one team, followed up by some combination of Red Sox/Yankees/Pirates. But those teams are all way lower on the fandom totem pole. And knowing how difficult it is to listen to Phillies games online, this sucks for Harrisburg-area Phillies fans. It’s great for bandwagon jumpers, though.