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FCC investigating DirecTV/Extra Innings deal
2007-02-22 21:32
by Bob Timmermann

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin, disclosed in a letter to Sen. John Kerry, that the FCC is investigating the ramifications of the proposed deal to move the MLB Extra Innings package to DirecTV.

Kerry had asked Martin to investigate the "proposed $700 million television deal that could deny many consumers the ability to watch their favorite teams."

Martin, in reply, wrote Kerry: "I share your concerns regarding this proposed deal."

The chairman added that he understood the package had been available to 75 million cable and satellite viewers for the past several years, and would only be viewable by DirecTV customers if a deal were signed.

"I am concerned whenever consumers cannot purchase the programming they want or are forced to purchase programming they don't want," Martin wrote.

The deal with DirecTV is still just a proposal. It has not been formally announced.

Not that people don't want to complain about it. I've made peace with it.

2007-02-22 23:02:45
1.   underdog
I never thought I'd see the day when the FCC - at least the recent incarnation of it - would actually investigate something on behalf of the people. I may faint from shock!
2007-02-22 23:13:18
2.   Icaros
Please oh please oh please oh please oh please oh please!
2007-02-22 23:43:43
3.   Chyll Will
So Bob... what you're saying is that the phrase "fiduciary conduct" isn't always accompanied by a wink and two chuckles? Who knew??
2007-02-23 12:05:24
4.   Berkeley Doug
If nothing has been finalized yet, is there any information about what will happen when the season starts? Will there be EI through cable until any deal is finalized?
2007-02-23 15:43:29
5.   Greg Brock
So MLB and DirecTV make a deal, the same exclusive deal that the NFL has with the dish, and the FCC intervenes?

You don't like the deal, fine. But using the government to intervene because you don't want to (or can't) get a dish is a little too much for me.

2007-02-23 16:49:41
6.   Icaros
My knowledge of politics and history isn't the greatest, but isn't the government supposed to keep businesses from gaining monopolies on their given marketplaces, especially when said monopoly excludes millions of loyal consumers?

Also, I've read that the FCC has been debating going after the NFL deal for awhile now. Perhaps this was the proverbial straw.

2007-02-23 16:58:38
7.   trainwreck
Wouldn't they have to go after college conferences that sign exclusive deals with TV channels too then? Such as Pac-10 basketball on FSN.
2007-02-23 16:59:09
8.   Greg Brock
6 Maybe Bob can correct me (and he will), but I get the idea that MLB's antitrust exemption makes Congress and Federal agencies feel like they can rake MLB over the coals whenever they feel like it. It's the same reason why MLB gets called to The Hill for steroids hearings, and nobody even talks about the NFL or the NBA.

Baseball has become the whipping boy for politicians seeking face-time, and I just don't like it one bit. We get outraged at MLB because they've become an easy target. But God-forbid somebody ever attack the National Football League.

Anyhoo, it's just my opinion.

2007-02-23 17:09:09
9.   bhsportsguy
6 One reason there is some traction to this FCC inquiry is that unlike the NFL's deal with Direct TV, MLB offered its product to a larger consumer base and is now pulling it back to Direct TV.

I don't think deals for specific conferences to networks or even leagues over broadcast or cable has ever been challenged by the FCC.

2007-02-23 17:09:36
10.   Greg Brock
If the NHL's Center Ice package were available only on DirecTV (and it may very well be), would the outrage reach Jon Kerry and the FCC? I doubt it. Because it doesn't affect that many constituents, and it has nothing to do with attacking baseball.
2007-02-23 17:15:06
11.   Icaros

But aren't those college games still available nationwide through a similar all-access package like Extra Innings and NBA League Pass? I don't follow college sports, so I'm not sure.


I'm with you on the seemingly unfair treatment from sport to sport. It doesn't line up. To me, the issue is DirectTV (Ruppert Murdoch) trying to take over the industry.

The fact that he bought my favorite team, ruined them even worse than they already were ruined, then sold them (to the McCourts!) so he could buy DirectTV and then keep me from watching my favorite team, is quite hurtful.

2007-02-23 17:18:57
12.   trainwreck
You have to order Fox College Sports and I have no idea of its availability.
2007-02-23 17:27:03
13.   Icaros

NHL Center Ice is currently available through cable as well as DirectTV.

Are they attacking baseball, or trying to keep "America's Game" available to as many apple-pie-and-hot-dog loving Americans as possible?

2007-02-23 17:36:13
14.   Greg Brock
13 Well, since the NFL destroys MLB in the ratings game, it's hard to call baseball "America's Game." On a romantic, Bob Costas/George Will sort of level it may be, but the NFL is America's sport. And woe be the politician that attacks the NFL.
2007-02-23 17:43:36
15.   Icaros
That's why I put the quotes around the phrase.
2007-02-23 17:47:49
16.   Icaros
And I should have also put a dash between "dog" and "loving."
2007-02-23 17:51:48
17.   Greg Brock
Well, I guess your punctuation mistakes cost you a lot, now didn't it Icaros?

You wouldn't make those punctuation mistakes if we were talking about the NFL...Maybe you just hate baseball?

Well, I don't. I love the game. And a pox on your house for hating baseball. Shame on you.

2007-02-23 18:01:16
18.   Icaros
I only hate baseball when the Dodgers lose.
2007-02-23 18:22:41
19.   Bob Timmermann
Gee, go away for a day and people leave comments.

What a country!

2007-02-23 18:25:28
20.   Greg Brock
Some of us always leave comments at The Griddle

{feels unappreciated}

2007-02-23 18:33:51
21.   Bob Timmermann
I consider Greg Brock part of "people"!
2007-02-23 18:54:02
22.   Greg Brock
Wow, I've never been a part of "people" before. I've always felt that "people" were over there, and I was alone, a person, over here.

Thanks, Bob! I'm People! Do you hear me, world? I'm People!

2007-02-23 19:08:42
23.   Bob Timmermann
Up with people!
2007-02-23 19:10:09
24.   Icaros
Soylent Green!
2007-02-23 19:22:22
25.   Bob Timmermann
I like my Soylent Green sauteed and then served with soy sauce.


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