DirecTV Close To "Extra Innings" Deal With MLB

DirecTV is close to sealing a deal with MLB to be the exclusive carrier of its “Extra Innings” baseball package. From Reuters:

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.

The proposed deal has upset fans and aroused opposition in Washington because it will disenfranchise an estimated 230,000 fans who previously watched the out-of-market games package [on other cable/satellite providers]

According to the New York Times, DirecTV president Chase Carey defended the deal, claiming that the product would be improved if it were available only on DirecTV. Meanwhile, an anonymous cable insider says that other providers matched DirecTV’s financial offer. From the NYT:

A cable industry executive who was not authorized to speak publicly said that In Demand had matched DirecTV’s financial offer and that it would make the Baseball Channel, which is to start in 2009, available to slightly more than the 15 million subscribers promised by DirecTV.

What special magic draws all cool sports programming packages to DirecTV?—MEGHANN MARCO

DirecTV nears deal on baseball [Reuters]
DirecTV Promises to Improve Baseball Package, but Others Wonder How [NYT]
(Photo: Scott Ableman)

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