March 9, 2007

MLB Meets With In Demand Re EI

R. Thomas Umstead, Multichannel News:
MLB met Friday with executives from In Demand Networks to try to strike a deal for distribution of MLB's Extra Innings live-game package on cable systems. ...

The catch: Cable and Dish have to [place] the games on the operators' most widely available tier of programming and taking a stake in the league's baseball network when it launches in 2009. ...

While the industry is willing to match DirecTV's price for Extra Innings, it wants to offer the new baseball channel on a premium sports tier rather than part of its basic digital offering. Cable-operator executives close to the negotiations said MLB spurned the industry's guarantee to more than match DirecTV's 15 million-subscriber commitment by the time the network launches.

"Major League Baseball has chosen to cut a de facto exclusive deal -- including conditions for carriage that MLB and DirecTV designed to be impossible for cable and Dish to meet -- with one satellite operator and disenfranchise baseball fans in the 75 million multichannel households who do not subscribe to DirecTV," In Demand CEO Robert Jacobson said in a prepared statement.
In a blog post, Umstead states that the
whole dustup between baseball and cable boils down to the same simple issue that has plagued negotiations between content distributors and cable operators since the first cable lines were rolled out into the home more than two decades ago. Baseball wants to secure distribution on the basic analog tier for its soon-to-be-launched 24-hour channel.

And cable operators said no.

DirecTV purchased a minority interest in the Baseball Channel -- which is expected to offer vintage games, as well as live games -- and will put that network on a tier that reaches all of its 15 million subscribers. Cable has already countered by saying that it would guarantee that the baseball network would be in front of at least 15 million subscribers via $5-per-month sports tiers.

But baseball wants basic carriage from cable. The industry said it would not open an analog slot for The Baseball Channel.

6 comments:

9casey said...

If this same deal was made with football and cable had to put the NFLnetwork on basic and they would get the rights to all the sunday games ....They would jump all over that deal..........

Cable will live to regret this...
It is there they have to make the deal......
Jesus we are talking 2009 ........

Redsock if they don't do this I would think they are the ones to blame and not mlb.......

L-girl said...

Must-carry and first-tier carriage are huge points of contention in the cable industry. It's felt that if they don't hold the line, there'll be a slippery slope - everyone will expect everything on first-tier carriage - people won't want to purchase premium stations. There's a lot at stake.

I can't see this as anybody's fault but MLB. Telecommunications companies are thinking of their profits and their shareholders. MLB should be thinking about bringing the most number of games to the greatest number of fans (who are willing and able to pay for it, of course).

It's completely in MLB's power to do it, and they don't. Therefore, it's their fault.

Woti-woti said...

MLB is demanding that 2 years from now their seasonal TV channel be put on a severely limited channel tier (analog) so it is at the same level as ABC, CBS, NBC etc. It is arrogant, absurb, greedy, greasy, presumptuous ... etc.

My fear here is that Direct TV now tells Rogers and the other cable cos. in Canada that their purchase price for the product just went up, too. So they can either pay or do without. After all, that is what monopolies do.

Andy said...

Can i just pay $150 a year to get the EI package please? I dont give a rats ass about the MLB Network, although it would be cool. I just want to see the f'ing games here in southern california. I have Verizon FiOS so maybe we will get it since Verizon has a deal with Direct. No matter what can I make a deal with someone to but the season for just my home? I am sure many a sports bar would do the same. This feels like communism or some sort of ism.

L-girl said...

This feels like communism or some sort of ism.

That would be capitalism.

Andy said...

Well then I vote for communism.