"I am concerned when fans lose access to their favorite team; or, as we will discover today, they are forced to change their TV service just to see games. That is wrong. That is a sign that the system is not working."
Ross nicely supplied an executive summary of his testimony:
1) Although exclusive dealing agreements with retailers whom consumers can access for free can often be pro-competitive, the MLB/DirecTV deal threatens to harm a wide variety of consumers
Fans who, for other reasons, are unable or unwilling to switch to DirecTV
Fans who would prefer to get out-of-market games other than the entire ExtraInningsTM package
2) The agreement exploits significant departures from the free market
MLB clubs agree to only telecast games in assigned territories, contrary to a 50-year old antitrust precedent
MVPDs face insufficient competition, allowing them excess profits for their basic premium service
3) Economic analysis shows that ordinarily, DirecTV would want to re-sell ExtraInnings to its cable and satellite rivals at a high per-subscriber charge; the exclusive deal reflects a sharing of additional excess profits DirecTV will obtain by forcing consumers to switch to its Choice or higher premium packages
4) Although the conduct is arguably illegal under the antitrust laws, a number of obstacles render litigation inadequate to protect consumers
5) Congress could, alternatively, consider:
Regulatory legislation to outlaw specific sports programming practices that harm consumers
Amendments to the Sports Broadcasting Act to specifically outlaw anti-consumer practices
“Strategic” legislation onerous to the industry that would facilitate voluntary compliance.
Next up, Bob DuPuy. He does not start his testimony by making an offering of a goat to Bud Selig, which I think might be in violation of his contract. DuPuy basically states that this is all just a matter of how the out-of-market games are delivered to the viewer, either via satellite or via cable or via internet. And MLB.TV will look really neat this year!
Then, the villain of the piece (because he's got the mustache for it), Chase Carey of DirecTV. He says pretty much the same thing DuPuy does except in a longer form and more business-ish. Carey thinks the bigger problem is that DirecTV isn't allowed to provide internet service, while cable companies can.
Finally, Carl Vogel of EchoStar speaks. Like Jacobson he can only speak in the form of a pdf. And he pretty much says the same thing as Jacobson.
So far just the statements are available online. The exciting give and take isn't anything I've seen so far, but judging from the opening statements, I think I may be more interested in seeing in waiting for Thursday when the Senate Commmitte on Environment and Public Works discussed the construction of a new Federal courthouse in Fresno. They will also discuss a courthouse project in Duluth!