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MLB Extra Innings going the way of the NFL Sunday Ticket?
2007-01-08 13:00
by Bob Timmermann

In this subscription piece on Baseball Prospectus, Maury Brown reports that the MLB Extra Innings package could be migrating from digital cable to Direct TV only as the NFL does with its Sunday Ticket package.

Brown says that since Liberty Media is now going to be the principal owner of the Atlanta Braves and since Liberty Media has taken over control of Direct TV from Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation, the company would be greatly interested in having deeper ties with MLB. If MLB Extra Innings goes to Direct TV only, I will be forced to write a series of Gregg Easterbrook like columns complaining about it. Is that a big enough threat to derail the action?

Thanks to Diane for the pointer/cry of horror.

2007-01-08 13:09:02
1.   kylepetterson
Well, I don't have cable or Direct TV so I say "nuts to this, I'm going to lunch"
2007-01-08 13:09:44
2.   kylepetterson
Well, I don't have cable or Direct TV so I say "nuts to this, I'm going outside"
2007-01-08 13:10:52
3.   kylepetterson
Weird. I refreshed after I posted and my post wouldn't show up. So I typed it again, swapping lunch for outside. Now they're both there. I hate 3rd grade.
2007-01-08 13:14:18
4.   mehmattski
Well you could only write the Easterbrook-esque rants if there's also a clause in the MLB anti-trust settlement saying that games should be available to everyone. And, since I'm assuming this does not affect, the games would still be available to a whole lot of people (and at a similar price, if less quality), the Easterbrook argument holds significantly less water when applied to baseball.

Of course, there's the "screw the fans" angle, but who cares about the fans anyway. Surely not Rupert Murdoch, that's for sure.

2007-01-08 13:28:02
5.   Knuckles
I will break stuff if Extra Innings goes to Directv exclusively. I think the only reason people haven't made too much of a stink about the NFL is because the season is comprised of so few games, relatively speaking.

I'm a transplanted Jersey boy living in DC, and can't get satellite due to the configuration of my townhouse complex. Doesn't bother me a whole lot, b/c I usually get 5+ Giants games per season on regular TV down here, end up at home in NJ for another couple, etc. Extra Innings is a whole 'nother story, since I watch the Yanks 4+ days a week, for 6 months of the year. If that gets moved to Directv, and MLB tries to tell fans to either switch to satellite, or get, I won't be a happy camper. Watching baseball on the internet is not exactly my cup of tea...esp when there's a 42" TV with a DVR sitting in the same room.

It's bad enough that they isolate every single media package from the rest. I have XM Radio, both for the music and the baseball, and one of the key things about it is you can listen online. But not to the baseball package. For that you have to go crawling to MLB and shell out more for a standalone MLB Radio package as well.

If Bud and Co. ever think about it, they'll probably split Extra Innings into separate packages, one for audio, one for video, and one for the onscreen graphics. And all commercials will be broadcasted at an earsplitting 200 decibels, ala Crazy Eddie, and MLB will charge you an extra $49.99 per season to get the ads at a reasonable volume.

2007-01-08 13:28:58
6.   Andrew Shimmin
Direct TV could re-write the blackout rules so that nobody gets to watch any of the games. Wouldn't take much doing, and, that way, it'd be fair.
2007-01-08 13:43:11
7.   dianagramr
Thanks for the credit Bob ...

Here is my response, along with 92.3% of Brown's piece ...

2007-01-08 13:53:00
8.   Shaun P
The real travesty is that, even with Extra Innings, if you live in a team's "Home Territory" or whatever they call it, you're forced to watch that team's broadcasts whoever they play. Even if said team is your favorite team's hated rivals.

The idiots are too stupid to realize that I - and I imagine all of us - would gladly pay an extra $50 to get all the home broadcasts of our favorite home team's games.

2007-01-08 14:21:43
9.   Sushirabbit
Well, I don't know about $50 more, I'd like to be able to pay $50 less just for the games I want to see...but all of them.

I've contacted DirecTV with no response. It's not clear to me who or how to contact somebody in MLB about the issue. Every year I debate about whether or not to renew Extra Innings, but the one time I didn't I ended up getting it later and paying more.

Doesn't Comcast have interest in some teams (I'm thinking Baltimore)? If so it seems like it could get real ugly.

2007-01-08 14:31:17
10.   Berkeley Doug
This would really, really, suck (for lack of a better word & since this is a PG audience).
2007-01-08 15:50:25
11.   misterjohnny
Blackouts are an MLB problem. All the complaining to Directv won't change it. Would you mind if Directv took Extra Innings exclusive if it could waive all the blackout restrictions?
2007-01-08 17:04:20
12.   fordprefect
Excuse the possibly OT response here, but has anyone else noticed just plain old radio broadcasts are becoming more and more scarce as more and more games seem to be migrating to satellite radio? That's what's happening up in my neck of the woods.

-My $0.02-

2007-01-08 23:20:30
13.   das411
Bob....does this mean we will have several gratuitous pictures of MLB mascots in every column seeing as there are not (yet) baseball cheerleaders?
2007-01-22 09:07:27
14.   blassie
I can't put into words my anger at MLB and that poor excuse for a commissioner for taking 'Extra Innings' off of cable. Those money hungry SOB's. I bought the package the last few years so I can follow my rotisserie league players. If it wasn't for rotisserie baseball and my life long dream of seeing the Cubs win a championship I wouldn't be following the game anymore. It's full of cheaters, crabby, overpaid, injury prone players, and greedy executives. Phooey!
2007-01-22 10:04:33
15.   blassie
P.S. Bud Selig stinks!
2007-02-05 16:38:57
16.   jayzdarealest07
This is totally unacceptable!!!! I cannot believe that they would even propose such an idea. I just moved from NY to Washington state and in order to watch my NY Mets I had to get MLB Extra innings.The service was great and I really liked it to the point that I am looking forward to getting it again this summer.Now I hear that it may be exclusive to Direct TV only cannot be true. So many people will be shut out and to make someone have to order direct tv just for that is not fair!! Furthermore who wants to watch baseball games on their computer at I really hope someone on behalf of us baseball fans steps up to the plate and does the right thing. I hear Senator Kerry Is looking into to this and all I can say is go Kerry!!!
2007-02-10 19:03:05
17.   isaac23
I have DirecTV and love it, but if i did ever decide to switch it would be ashame. IWht MLB EI I lvie in mobile, al and the cubs were playing the Marlins, there is no way I can receive the marlins broadcast but Directv and MLB blacked it out, the MArlins are twelve hours away how am I in the home terriroty I contacted Directv adn the tech person said due to the MLB contract MLB dictates what teams are blocked out for what region. We do not have a MLB team within 4 hours (braves are 6) it is ridicaulous. MLB is at the highest popularity than it has been in years. I do not understand why they are going ot cut themselves off at the neck. The NFL is the only pro league that televises 3 to 4 games a week on the local channels and Mondays on Espn. Yes MLB has fox, but that is later in the year and I get sick of seeing the braves or Yankees. I remember when NBC had Baseball. They would televise what they thought the country wanted to see nothing regional, to my knowledge, and they would televevise two games in one day sometimes (what a concept). MLB needs to rethink how they advertise. If they cut off Yankee fans, Red Sox fans and even Cubs Fans what can a backlash and protest will fans do to get their attention. I say boycott the games for a week and let the players play in fornt of empty fields and staduims.... Thats my piece.

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