Cable and Satellite companies are in the midst of a battle to attract and retain the lucrative customers who subscribe to out-of-market sports packages. DirecTV and MLB recently came to an agreement that would allow DirecTV exclusive rights to offer the “Extra Innings” out-of-market baseball package. Cable companies are fighting the deal, even arguing their case before a couple senators. So far, DirecTV’s deal stands and Cablevision is fighting back by offering to compensate former “Extra Innings” customers with a credit towards MLB’s online service MLB.TV. A few shocked readers forwarded the email, which we’ve reproduced inside. The deal is only for customers who subscribed to “Extra Innings” last year. —MEGHANN MARCO
Senator John Kerry, D-Mass., had questions for Major League Baseball and DirecTV at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing on behalf of subscribers to cable TV and EchoStar Communications Corp.’s Dish Network who are threatened by the DirecTV-only “Extra Innings” deal.
For baseball, the deal may be worth the controversy because DirecTV is throwing in a valuable sweetener — guaranteeing distribution for a TV network MLB plans to start in 2009, the Journal reported.
John Kerry has released a letter from FCC chairman Kevin Martin announcing an investigation into a proposed deal that would give DirecTV exclusive rights to broadcast “Extra Innings,” a package which currently allows out-of-market baseball fans to watch their home team via cable or satellite. DirecTV has the exclusive rights to a similar package, “NFL Sunday Ticket.” That deal is not being investigated, sadly.
Those of us who are fans of an out-of-market NFL team know the pain: Unless you have enough cash to go to a bar every Sunday for 3 hours, you pretty much have to get DirecTV and NFL Sunday Ticket. Could this monopoly be coming to Major League Baseball?