Richard Sandomir of the New York Times has an interesting look at how MLB was able to parlay consumer anger over the possible removal of the Extra Innings package in to getting the still to be born Baseball Network (or Channel as it doesn't have a name yet) to be carried on basic cable channels.
“The evidence of that is that we started doing one-year deals on Extra Innings in 2004,” said Tim Brosnan, baseball’s executive vice president for business, who has been working on the channel for about five years.
Robert D. Jacobson, the president of the InDemand consortium owned by the cable operators Comcast, Time Warner and Cox, battled Brosnan before finally agreeing to a deal on April 4.
“We weren’t surprised with what they did,” Jacobson said. “They kept rolling over Extra Innings as one-year arrangements because they hadn’t figured out their channel strategy.”
And on March 21, MSNBC’s “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” awarded Brosnan the bronze medal for being one of the three “worst people in the world” that day for rejecting InDemand’s offer to renew Extra Innings and carry the channel. Brosnan could not reach Olbermann to vent his anger, but was calmed by a friend of his, the Democratic Party strategist James Carville.
“He said, ‘God can you believe this?’ ” Carville said in a telephone interview, “and my reaction was that I had been No. 18 in the entire world for Spy magazine” on its list of the most appalling people in the world. “And it was one of the best things that ever happened to me.” He told Brosnan to show the segment at owners’ meetings.