Senators Have Tough Words For DirecTV's "Extra Innings" Deal

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.

From the AP:

At Tuesday’s hearing, Rob Jacobson, president and CEO of iN Demand, owned by affiliates of the companies that own Time Warner Cable Inc., Comcast Corp. and Cox Communications Inc., offered to carry the package on the same terms that DirecTV is, while putting off the issue of The Baseball Channel until it is launched.

“This would ensure that for the next two years at least, all baseball fans would have access to the ‘Extra Innings’ package,” he said. “If we’re unable to reach an agreement when the channel launches, we’d give baseball the right to cancel the ‘Extra Innings’ deal. We think this is a fair compromise.”

Kerry, often playing the role of mediator, got behind the effort.

“What’s the matter with that?” he asked Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer.

“We believe that DirecTV has the right to begin to help us build the channel,” DuPuy answered, adding that the cable industry had nine months to negotiate a deal.

Arlen Spector, R-Penn., a long-time critic of DirecTV’s Sunday Ticket package said, “When fans react, Congress reacts,” he said, adding, “You may be well advised to act before we do.” To which the Chase “You’ll Watch What I Say You’ll Watch And Like It” Carey responded, “I don’t run down to Washington every time we have a contract issue or a programming issue or a cost issue.” Ooooh, bitchy! —MEGHANN MARCO

Kerry Presses Baseball on DirecTV Deal [Houston Chronicle]
(Photo: Scott Ableman)