Major League Baseball is close to announcing a deal that will place its Extra Innings package of out-of-market games exclusively on DirecTV, which will also become the only carrier of a long-planned 24-hour baseball channel.And people call the players greedy! (Not me.)
Extra Innings has been available to 75 million cable households and the two satellite services, DirecTV and the Dish Network. But the new agreement will take it off cable and Dish because DirecTV has agreed to pay $700 million over seven years, according to three executives briefed on the details of the contract but not authorized to speak about them publicly.
InDemand, which has distributed Extra Innings to the cable television industry since 2002, made an estimated $70 million bid to renew its rights, more than triple what it has been paying. Part of its offer included the right to carry the new baseball channel, but not exclusively.
. . .
Extra Innings lets subscribers, for a fee, watch about 60 games a week from other local markets except their own.
The only other way that fans without DirecTV will be able to see Extra Innings will be on MLB.com's mlb.tv service, but they must have high-speed broadband service. About 28 million homes have high-speed service, less than half the number of cable homes in the country. The picture quality of streamed games is not as good as what is available on cable or satellite.
I well understand that Major League Baseball is a business and exists to make money. I don't need to be reminded of that and I don't have a problem with it. But a move like this demonstrates MLB's utter contempt for their fans. Instead of negotiating contracts that bring baseball to the greatest number of people possible, they assign exclusive rights, putting the interests of a television provider ahead of the interests of millions of fans.
We don't want to watch baseball on our friggin computers! We want to watch it on TV. That's why we pay for digital cable!
I'm stunned over this - and furious. I'm also hoping against hope that this boneheaded decision can be reversed. It wouldn't be the first time that fan outrage changed an MLB decision; remember the Spiderman bases?
Most wmtc readers are not effected by this, but if you are, please don't just complain to yourselves and your blog. Go to the source.
The Office of the Commissioner of BaseballP.S. PLEASE don't suggest - even in jest - that I solve this problem by becoming a Blue Jays fan. Thank you in advance for your cooperation.
245 Park Avenue - 31st Floor
New York, NY 10167