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Sunday, January 28, 2007

DirecTV offering The Baseball Channel on "Basic Tier" drove the MLB deal---NY Daily News

"Industry informants say MLB's motives in this "Extra Innings" caper have a lot to do with something tentatively called "The Baseball Channel." See, "TBC" does not yet exist. But in its negotiation with the cable consortium,

  • MLB suits tried linking an "Extra Innings" deal to the cable operators agreeing to eventually put "TBC" on a "basic" tier. Being placed on a "basic" tier means MLB would be paid per subscriber based on an entire cable system's universe of subscribers.

The cable industry balked, saying when "TBC" becomes a reality, it belongs on a "sports tier," which means MLB would be paid based only on how many subscribers purchased that individual tier. Apparently, that's when MLB took its "Extra Innings" deal over to DirecTV, which guaranteed it would make "TBC" available to about 85% of its subscriber base.

  • If the NFL Network, which actually exists, could not convince companies such as Time Warner and Cablevision to place it on a "basic" tier, what makes MLB suits think the industry would roll over and put "TBC" on "basic?" And in NFLN's case, it actually had an exclusive Thursday/Saturday package of games to offer.

What's "TBC" going to offer? Another package of games already adding to the glut of televised baseball?

  • Still, those loyal subscribers to "Extra Innings" cannot get enough baseball. For many who live out of their favorite team's market, this was an essential part of their summer and their lives."
From Bob Raissman's column, NY Daily News, 1/28/07, "MLB's Screwball."
  • P.S. Buster Olney, interviewed on XM today (1/29) says MLB, Inc. will continue to screw the fan:
    • because you keep buying tickets to games. He says MLB, Inc. remembers fans came back after the 1994 strike, so they'll come back no matter what.
And NY Post's Phil Mushnick says, "It's reminiscent of the quick-cash Peter Ueberroth days. In 1989, MLB sold exclusive national rights to CBS, even knowing that CBS planned to provide far less baseball than NBC had before it." and
  • "Networks pay fortunes for rights. Then they plead with people to watch. Then they don't allow them to." From Mr. Mushnick's NY Post column, 1/29/07

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