Thursday, January 25, 2007

MLB "Extra Innings Throws Curve, Fans Cry Foul"--NY Times, 1/26/07

The NY Times' Richard Sandomir follows up his column about the MLB, Inc. move to DirecTV by relating some fan & blog comments--with which he's been swamped this week:
  • "On the umpbump.com fan site, a screed against the deal was titled, “MLB Only Needs 700 Million Reasons to Tell You to Drop Dead.”

"The deal would also make DirecTV the exclusive home of the 24/7 baseball channel that will launch in 2009 —

  • but that is not the concern of the devotees who will be disenfranchised..."
(We've been 'disenfranchised'--but, no matter--as Darren Rovell clinically noted earlier this week in an interview on XM, it's just a matter of MLB, Inc. accepting some upset people for awhile). Back to Richard Sandomir's column:
  • ..."by cable’s and Dish’s loss of Extra Innings if the agreement is completed. It will be difficult for them to see much besides Major League Baseball getting $30 million more a year than what InDemand, the consortium that distributed Extra Innings to cable systems, bid to renew it."

(And the universe of DirecTV potential customers is less than 1/5th of what it has been on cable, Mr. Sandomir points out).

He asks, "Why anger any part of your fan base? Why marginalize any part of your fan base?" and notes a distinction between the NFL Sunday Ticket & the MLB, Inc. deal:

"This situation is different from that of Sunday Ticket, the package of CBS’s and Fox’s Sunday afternoon, out-of-market N.F.L. games that are available only on DirecTV, which pays $700 million annually for it. Cable subscribers never had it, and while they may covet it, they can’t complain that they once had it but that it was sold to DirecTV, because DirecTV has always had it."

Sandomir concludes that MLB, Inc. hopes most will just switch to DirecTV or watch available games via Advanced Media (MLB.com, Inc.) on their computer. I'm telling you it won't happen for a few reasons:

  • Many fans will never be able to subscribe to DirecTV, whether they want to or not. There are too many physical problems associated with it.
  • The "computer" alternative is a poor one which you'd know if you did nothing else but read this blog. There are too many blacked out games for a variety of reasons. The service just isn't there.
  • DirecTV is more likely to go out of business before MLB, Inc. sees what it thinks it will see. As I've detailed elsewhere, the company has problems and has just been sold. I have personal experience with the service (and cancelled it). It goes out in bad weather, eg. rain, is more expensive than a similar service would be via cable, is a poorly conceived and terribly run company far too out of control for it to be rescued at this late date.
Items from the NY Times article by Richard Sandomir, 1/26/07, "Extra Innings Throws a Curve, Fans Cry Foul."

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  • Thanks for the tip on the story. Although I'm strongly dumbfounded by this move, it kinda goes along with what MLB has been doing on the media front. Prohibiting local radio stations to broadcast games online, eliminating podcasts from the iTunes store, and now this.


    By Anonymous Alejandro Leal, at 8:16 AM  

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