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'Extra Innings' Does Not Equal Free Baseball
2007-03-08 12:57
by Jon Weisman

Pardon me while I tiptoe onto The Griddle in the midst of Bob's Pac-10 stupor to tell you that, 18 minutes after I opened this file, MLB and DirecTV were to officially announce their Extra Innings exclusivity deal, Maury Brown at The Biz of Baseball lets us know.

Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times had more on the deal this morning:

Robert Jacobson, president and chief executive of In Demand, said the proposed MLB deal "is stunning in its disregard for baseball fans." ... Commissioner Bud Selig, attending spring training games in Phoenix over the weekend, told reporters the controversy over the deal is "ridiculous."

2007-03-08 13:08:14
1.   rbj
(feel free to add an extra "s" for stupid Selig)
2007-03-08 13:13:48
2.   dianagramr
sigh ....
2007-03-08 13:22:54
3.   williamnyy23
It's nice to see Selig be so refreshingly honest, instead of spewing some political correct statement. The bottom line is that only approximately 10K of the 150K cable-based Extra Innings subscribers can not get DirecTV. If you really want EI, you can switch to DirecTV. If you don't want to switch, that's your choice, but don't come crying to MLB.
2007-03-08 13:26:15
4.   dianagramr

overly simplistic .... feh!

2007-03-08 13:26:58
5.   Shaun P
3 Except, of course, that not all 150K cable-based EI subscribers WANT to switch to DirecTV. Nor should they have to. When did lack of choice become a positive thing for consumers?

Its good to know that MLB is using its power to help out a soon-to-be owner in Liberty Media. One that is buying the Braves to make sure it doesn't have to pay any income taxes on their sale of Time Warner stock back to Time Warner.

The whole thing makes me sick - and I am a DirecTV subscriber!

2007-03-08 13:48:54
6.   Sam DC
Switching cable systems = not simple.

Anyone else get their internet through their cable (you know, the broadbank internet needed for gameday audio and/or mlbtv)?

2007-03-08 13:50:11
7.   dianagramr

I'm one such person ....

I won't be renewing my blog. No sense giving the greedy Selig and co. another $50 of my dollars.

2007-03-08 13:58:52
8.   Mark T.R. Donohue
I'm absolutely miserable because my apartment faces south right into the teeth of one of the more formidable foothills of Colorado's beautiful Front Range. I guess I could go up there and ask my neighbors at the top of the hill to kindly chop down all of their trees for me, but I don't know how well that will go.
2007-03-08 14:05:41
9.   Mark T.R. Donohue
...But now I can add another verse to my showstopping folk number "F---in' F--- You, F---in' Bill Wirtz" about Selig.
2007-03-08 14:08:49
10.   Sam DC
MLB Press Release:

"Additionally, in keeping with MLB's desire to provide as much MLB programming to as many baseball fans as possible, MLB and DIRECTV have agreed to include a provision that allows MLB EXTRA INNINGS to be offered to other incumbents - In Demand and DISH Network - at consistent rates and carriage requirements with a deal to be concluded before the baseball season begins. The provision also requires the incumbents to agree to carriage rights to the MLB Channel proportionally equivalent to DIRECTV's commitment. Should the incumbents decide not to match DIRECTV's commitment, the MLB EXTRA INNINGS package will be exclusive to DIRECTV. All out of market games continue to be available on"

Blame Comcast!!

2007-03-08 14:18:01
11.   Shaun P
10 Wow - that's one way to get the Baseball Channel on basic tier cable, huh? Fascinating.
2007-03-08 14:21:12
12.   dianagramr
David Pinto of Baseball Musings live-blogged the conference call, and summarized:

"MLB and DirecTV reached a seven year agreement for DirecTV to carry MLB Extra Innings. In addition, DirecTV will add enhancements, such as a mosaic channel. DirecTV will also carry the Baseball Channel when it debuts in 2009.

In Demand and Dish Network, the other incumbent carriers of Extra Innings can still buy the package. However, they have until the end of March, and they must pay the same rate as DirecTV, and carry the Baseball Channel as well. If neither of these providers signs on to the deal, DirecTV gets an exclusive and pays more money to MLB. MLB suggests people who get Extra Innings on Dish and In Demand call their providers to encourage them to make a deal for Extra Innings.

So there's still hope fans won't be shut out, but there's not much time left."

2007-03-08 14:24:28
13.   Sushirabbit
Nice... I actually sent a real letter to the Commish. DirecTV is controled by robots so I didn't even bother calling them. Morally I think I should cancel my EI. But the Dodger fan in me craves more Vin.
2007-03-08 14:46:28
14.   trainwreck
Ahhh, I won't be able to see Dodger games now.
2007-03-08 16:17:10
15.   williamnyy23
Why are people still upset? The decision to allow incumbents to match DirecTV's commitment was a stroke of genius. If In Demand and Dish Network really care about offering the package to their customers (as they claimed), all they have to do is match DirecTV's rights payment and commitment to the new MLB network. If they opt not to, then DirecTV will have exclusive rights.

Now the ball is in cable's court. If they suddenly get amnesia and decide that providing the package is no longer in the consumers' best interests, then anyone who decides not to switch to DirecTV has one to blame but themselves (or really doesn't want EI in the first place).

2007-03-08 16:44:58
16.   trainwreck
Because signing up for DirecTV just for baseball is a big pain for a lot of people.
2007-03-08 16:57:46
17.   williamnyy23
16 I understand that...but if Extra Innings isn't worth a "big pain", then what's the big deal anyway? In other words, if you don't care enough about getting EI to sacrifice one day for installation, then that tells me you really don't want the product.

Well...the point is moot now. MLB has given the other operators the chance to provide EI. If they value their customers as much as they say they do, then they'll make the necessary commitment. Should they refuse, customers who value EI as much as they claim can simply switch to DirecTV.

2007-03-08 17:20:41
18.   Mark T.R. Donohue
17 It's a big pain if you live immediately underneath these enormous honkin' mountains.

But I see how this might not be a concern for everyone.

2007-03-08 20:08:41
19.   Nagman
If, as reported, InDemand had made a matching bid, it seems like it would be willing to match the DirecTV deal to carry EI. Then MLB gets 2x the money? 3x if Dish joins the party?

Since InDemand is available across all carriers, the dish networks should just let InDemand have it and everybody wins, except MLB.

I guess I don't understand how an exclusive deal can be non-exclusive.

2007-03-08 20:12:12
20.   Nagman
BTW, people in markets like San Diego, are really screwed because the Padres are not available on satellite at all locally (their TV flagship is only available on cable) so in order to watch the home team and watch games on EI, they have to have cable and DirecTV.

I had NFL's Sunday Ticket "ala carte" on DirecTV, i.e. that was all that I paid for. I am hoping that they offer EI ala carte as well.

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