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Extra Innings: Phillies & Padres And Blackouts Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 26 April 2007 03:58

Extra InningsOne of nice side effects of the recent Extra Innings agreement was scanning through the channels to find San Diego Cox Channel 4 feeds of Padres games, and Comcast SportsNet feeds of Phillies games. Due to exclusive agreements, those feeds were only available on cable regionally and not part of Extra Innings prior to this season.

It seems, however, that it depends on which carrier you are viewing Extra Innings through that dictate whether you have access to the feeds.

Glancing at iN Demand's schedule for Extra Innings, one will find that none of the Cox 4 or Comcast SportsNets feeds for the Padres and Phillies are listed. While the carrier of the feed to DirecTV's Extra Innings schedule isn't listed, more than one, including this author, has watched games from Cox and Comcast for Padres and Phillies games.

So, be aware of this twist. Barring being in a blackout area, you should be able to gain access to these teams, just through away feed as opposed to Cox 4 or Comcast SportsNet, but that may not be entirely the case. As one astute viewer mentioned to me, " Last night's Padres/Diamondbacks game was not shown via In Demand because it was televised on Arizona's local network station, which is never picked up by Extra Innings."

 
Blackout Issues Could be Addressed Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 22 April 2007 12:12

Extra InningsWith the increased visibility of the recent Extra Innings deal and the overall discontent of many consumers over how television blackouts are addressed by MLB, there is word that a restructuring of how blackouts are handled could be a hot topic at the upcoming owners meetings. As reported by Jayson Stark of ESPN:

We're hearing that a discussion of those blackout rules is on the agenda for next month's owners meeting. And indications are that it's Bud Selig's intention to fix this mess ASAP. We've also heard that teams have been asked to submit info to MLB specifically outlining all the distant locations in their "territory" where they're actually on some form of local TV. MLB then intends to crack down on clubs that are claiming certain areas as their turf if, in reality, those claims actually are preventing fans of that team from seeing games even if they're willing to pay for Extra Innings.

It's one thing for clubs to protect their right to cut local TV deals. But it's a big problem for the industry if the effect is, essentially, to tell fans: "You can't be a fan of this team anymore." Nevertheless, it isn't as simple as it sounds. So stay tuned.

As Jayson mentioned, it isn't as simple as it sounds. There are overlapping television markets so determining how to break them up into more reasonable blackout territories will take some doing. Still, this issue is one of the more frustrating aspects of owning Extra Innings. While Stark does not state it in his article, the national blackouts that come with the FOX game on Saturdays, and the ESPN games on Sundays would not be altered. All that said, one has to say that if MLB addresses the matter of "local" games, it would be a win for those that have wrestled with the Blackout Blues.

 
Dolan on Extra Innings: "I Think We'll Get a Deal Done" Print
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Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 17 April 2007 16:02
Extra Innings

James Dolan, CEO of Cablevision (as well as the owner of the Knicks and the Rangers) was on the Mike and Mad Dog Show (listen to the show here. Comments on Extra Innings are approx. ¾ way through the interview) on WFAN 66 AM in New York today. Dolan mentioned, among other things, that Cablevision is in negotiations with MLB (which would also mean iN Demand) for the rights to show Extra Innings, the baseball package that allows for out-of-market games to be seen.

When asked about gaining rights to the package Dolan said, “I think we’ll get a deal done—hopefully we’ll get a deal done.” When asked about placing The Baseball Channel on the basic tier—a prerequisite by MLB to allow carriage of Extra Innings—Dolan replied, “We could. We have to work out the details. We want a deal [with an ownership stake] like the other guys.”

 
Extra Innings: Charter Finalizing Agreement Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 16 April 2007 15:24

Charter CommunicationsCharter Communications has confirmed today that they are in the final stages of completing their agreement for MLB Extra Innings. The carrier stated that they are "close to finalizing the agreement and an announcement should be made shortly."

The Biz of Baseball will be working to get word on Cablevision and details from Comcast shortly. Keep it here for more details as they are made available.

 
Extra Innings: HD Reportedly Not Offered by Some Carriers Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Sunday, 15 April 2007 04:02

Extra InningsSeems that some customers of MLB Extra Innings—the television package that allows you to watch out-of-market games—are not gaining access to High Definition programming in some areas. One reader of The Biz of Baseball in the Charlotte, NC area reports that they are unable to watch Extra Innings in HD through Time Warner. As the customer reports to us, Time Warner is stating that MLB is not allowing the HD programming in their area.

Below are two PDF files regarding iN Demand, channel availability and HD programming notes.

One is the letter accompanying the iN Demand agreement with MLB and DirecTV (PDF) and has some information that might be of interest in regards to the news reported yesterday: Channels 11-14 have yet to be made available.

The other is a PDF listing the games that are/were supposed to be made available in HD (PDF)

Back to the memo at the time of the announcement, here are some details from it:

Channels GAME11-14 Reminder: As of January 22nd, four (4) additional GAME channels were added to the AMC1/13 multiplex in order to address both the NHL and MLB overlap period & the amount of simultaneous games available as part of MLB EXTRA INNINGS throughout the season. For those systems that have not yet launched the additional four (4) GAME channels, we urge you to submit an authorization form and launch the channels as soon as possible since MLB games will be scheduled on these channels. Please contact your affiliate representative for the appropriate forms.

MLB EXTRA INNINGS HD Games: iN DEMAND will again be providing a High-Definition version of select games already included in the MLB EXTRA INNINGS package. These bonus HD games (approximately 5 per week) should be made available to all existing package subscribers with HD set-tops and television sets. Please see the “MLBXI-HD Operational/Technical Information” section below for more detail

Don't forget to add your comments.

 
Extra Innings: Comcast, Charter, & Cablevision Issues Print
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Written by The Staff   
Saturday, 14 April 2007 06:39

Extra InningsAs has been the case in years past, just because one carrier offers MLB Extra Innings in one fashion, doesn't mean another will be doing the same.  Case in point, Comcast.

A steady stream of emails are coming into The Biz of Baseball about how Comcast has a limited offering of channels for Extra Innings in comparison to other carriers. Emails to Comcast have yet to be answered.

In the case of Charter, customer service reps have informed some customers that a deal is near and agreement nearly in hand. Customers inform The Biz of Baseball that they have been told that game codes have been loaded into the system, only to have them pulled back. So, many are hanging on daily waiting to see if Extra Innings games will come their way.

Cablevision is another story. The carrier has yet to reach a deal for the package. The Biz of Baseball will be contacting the carrier next week to try and get an update on any negotiations, if they are taking place.

If you happen to be dealing with this issue, we'd like to hear about it. Add your comments. 

 
Extra Innings: Blackouts Lifted on Padres/Phillies Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 11 April 2007 07:09

Extra InningsIn what might have been an extension of the initial exclusive arrangement with DirecTV and MLB over Extra Innings, Padres and Phillies games are now available through the out-of-market television package.

Prior to this season, Cox 4 in San Diego and Comcast had exclusive rights to home feeds for the Padres and Phillies games.

The games appear to have arrived without notification from the carriers at this time. Viewers in several markets report access to the games outside of the blackout restrictions for in-market.

 
Free Trial Offer for MLB.TV Extended to End of Month Print
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Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 10 April 2007 01:10

MLB.TVCare to catch more out-of-market games than you could on Extra Innings? Don't mind watching games on your computer? Like to try it for free?

MLB.com and Right Guard have extended the free-trial period for the MLB.TV package till the end of the month. As reported on MLB.com:

Due to overwhelming demand by baseball fans in just about every corner of the world, MLB.com is extending its offer through the end of April for Right Guard's presentation of a five-day, risk-free trial of MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium.

Considering that the initial offer was five-days, the extension might show that MLB is working to try and lure customers that are still in baseball purgatory over the Extra Innings situation. The Biz of Baseball has seen a high number of Cablevision comments, and it's very possible MLB is working to tap into that possible customer base.

 Tell Us What You Think. Add Your Comments

 
Today on BP: The Latest on the Extra Innings Deal Print
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Written by The Staff   
Monday, 09 April 2007 05:57

MLB Extra InningsMaury Brown, the founder and president of The Biz of Baseball runs a lengthy analysis article today on Baseball Prospectus.

The article digs deep into the new non-exclusive arrangement with iN Demand now part of the picture, talks of where providers such as DISH Network and the likes of Cablevision sit, and works through who the winners and losers might be in the new agreement.

Check the story here:

BP The Ledger Domain: Breaking Down the Extra Innings Agreement

 Tell Us What You Think. Add Your Comments

 
DISH Network Appears to Give Up on MLB Extra Innings Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Saturday, 07 April 2007 05:34

DISH NetworkWhile iN Demand reached an agreement with MLB to show Extra Innings, along with DirecTV through 2013, many baseball fans and consumers wondered where EchoStar's DISH Network fits into the picture. The satcaster had been showing Extra Innings prior, and word after the agreement with iN Demand was that DISH was continuing to work with MLB... and technically, that is the voice coming from DISH as of today.

The message on their website, however, sets the stage for DISH to move on in a post-Extra Innings deal manner. Some of the key points being made by DISH include:

  • Over the past several weeks, DISH Network diligently tried to reach a fair agreement with Major League Baseball to keep the Extra Innings package on DISH Network without having to pass on huge cost increases to customers.
  • DISH Network made many concessions and offered numerous solutions, including extending a current agreement until a resolution could be reached. Major League Baseball refused.
  • The US Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing and invited DISH Network, Major League Baseball and other industry representatives to testify. The president of DISH Network testified on your behalf and said we needed a fair deal that kept your Extra Innings on DISH. At that hearing, Democratic and Republican leaders urged Major League Baseball to come to an agreement with us so that customers would not lose their Extra Innings games.
  • Major League Baseball’s demands are blatantly anti-consumer – and they refuse to budge.

They then add:

DISH Network remains interested in the Extra Innings package but we are not optimistic that Major League Baseball will propose a fair deal for our customers.

Maybe. As we've been reporting, DISH reached agreements with several regional sports networks earlier in the week to show games in high-definition, and added MASN, the RSN that shows the Nationals and Orioles on Friday.

On top of this, DISH mentions that they are going to work members of Congress to get the deal overturned. The announcement adds that, "We are now working with key members of Congress to fight to make professional sports available to all."

So, while DISH is "interested" in Extra Innings, it is clearly going to have to be on terms that DISH finds acceptable, not what MLB, DirecTV, and iN Demand have reached. 

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Extra Innings: MLB Blocks Some Carriers Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 06 April 2007 08:37

MLB Extra InningsWhile MLB struck a deal with iN Demand, and the consortium of cable providers that fall within it, DISH and other providers, such as Cablevision, Charter Communications, Insight Communications, Mediacom Communications, and a host of other distributors have not been allowed to broadcast MLB Extra Innings until individual agreements are reached over the forthcoming The Baseball Channel slated to launch in 2009.

Many of the providers have agreements with iN Demand to allow for Extra Innings to be accessed via pay-per-view, but iN Demand's agreement late Weds. night does not include these providers.

MLB will not be granting agreements to any provider that does not place The Baseball Channel on the basic tier.

As we reported prior, until agreements are reached, many providers are offering deep discounts or full rebates for MLB.TV, MLB's online offering for out-of-market games.

Make sure and register on The Biz of Baseball to get updates in your in-box as news breaks or exclusive content is published

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DISH Launches Regional Sports Networks in Hi-Def Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 14:38

DISH NetworkLost in the Extra Innings announcement last night with iN Demand, was DISH Network's news of launching seven regional sports networks (RSNs) in high-definition.

The seven HD RSNs launched include Fox Sports Network Florida (DISH Network Ch. 373), Fox Sports Network Midwest (Ch. 368), Fox Sports Network West (Ch. 367), Fox Sports Network Prime Ticket (Ch. 361), Fox Sports Network Rocky Mountain (Ch. 364), Fox Sports Network South (Ch. 370) and Fox Sports Network Southwest (Ch. 366).

EchoStar, DISH Network's parent company said that they would continue to explore carriage of additional HD RSNs throughout the year to enhance local HD programming line-ups. In addition to the seven RSNs announced today, DISH Network will begin offering Sun Sports and SportSouth this spring as well as Altitude this fall.

"Sports fans have been driving the HD movement for quite some time now so naturally we're excited to offer regional coverage of games and sporting events in this amazing and graphic picture quality," said Eric Sahl, senior vice president of Programming for DISH Network. "Whether it's baseball, basketball, football, college or professional, there's no better way to watch all the action than in HD and DISH Network has a great sports lineup and the most national HD channels today."

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Extra Innings: DISH Network “Not Optimistic” Print
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Written by The Staff   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 04:57

DISH NetworkWhile the door has been left open for EchoStar’s DISH Network to work a deal for MLB Extra Innings after iN Demand and MLB announced their deal Wednesday, the The Hollywood Reporter has the tone coming out of EchoStar as one that seems to point to a deal not being completed.

"We are not optimistic we can strike a fair deal for our customers," an Echostar spokeswoman said.

Echostar said that MLB's proposal would force Dish to pass on costs to its customer base, including those who don't subscribe to Extra Innings. Echostar claimed it was a disproportionate share in comparison to DirecTV and In Demand's owners Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications.

Ourand and Fisher on the Sports Business Daily report:

The main hang up is that baseball is asking Dish to pay 25% percent of the Extra Innings guarantee even though it has only 10% of its subscribers, which is consistent with the terms DirecTV and cable agreed to.

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Extra Innings: Maury Brown on XM 175 - 2:05pm ET Print
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Written by The Staff   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 03:22

Maury Brown Maury Brown of The Biz of Baseball will be on XM Satellite Radio today:

  • When: 2:05pm ET (11:05 PT)
  • Channel: XM 175
  • Show: Baseball Beat with Charley Steiner 
  • Topic: New MLB Extra Innings deal
 
Breaking Down the New Extra Innings Agreement Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 05 April 2007 01:28

As announced last night, MLB and iN Demand—a consortium of cable operators including Time Warner Entertainment-Advance/Newhouse Partnership, Comcast iN Demand Holdings Corp and Cox Communications Holdings Inc.—have reached an agreement which allows MLB Extra Innings to be continued to be shown on cable. The agreement was brokered in large part with DirecTV, who had originally inked a deal with MLB for a 7-year, $700 million deal which would have made them the exclusive provider for MLB’s out-of-market television package.

Today, the landscape has changed. Here’s a break down of where things are at the day after the announcement:

  • When MLB and DirecTV announced their exclusive deal on March 8th, it was announced that 15 million households would receive The Baseball Channel when launched in 2009. With iN Demand on-board, that figure will leap to 40 million total households, an incredible offering for the fledgling channel.
  • The original exclusive agreement had DirecTV holding a 20% ownership stake. Now, DirecTV and iN Demand will own 16% respectively.
  • MLB’s total dollar amount for Extra Innings through 2013 will remain at $100 million a year for 7-years from DirecTV and iN Demand. If DISH comes to an agreement, the $50 million each figure will be adjusted.
  • EchoStar’s DISH Network will have to come to a separate agreement if they wish to retain Extra Innings. As of publication, they were still negotiating and had not reached an agreement.
  • MLB will reap substantial revenues from The Baseball Channel when it goes on the air in 2009. Reports show that annual subscriber revenues will come in at $120 million annually, thus adding an additional $600 million in total revenues to the Extra Innings component. In total for 7-years, MLB will pull in $1.3 billion.
  • Many games are already being shown on cable.
  • The SuperFan Package is only available on DirecTV. That package includes up to 10 games a week in HD, a "Game Mix" channel, which is a Mosaic-like option, and the Strike Zone Channel, which takes you to key plays as they happen across a variety of games.
  • iN Demand will make the package available today to other cable operators like Cablevision and Charter, who must make individual deals.
  • iN Demand will make Extra Innings available at a discount for a short period of time after the Free Preview period is over. iN Demand announced that the package will be available for $159 for that short period.

Look for more details throughout the day on The Biz of Baseball.

Maury Brown is the founder and president of The Biz of Baseball and an author for Baseball Prospectus. He can be contacted here.

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iN Demand and MLB Reach Agreement on Extra Innings Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 April 2007 13:37
iN DemandMajor League Baseball announced today that iN DEMAND has entered into a seven-year agreement in principle to carry the MLB EXTRA INNINGS subscription package of out-of-market games and will distribute the MLB Channel, which is scheduled to launch in January 2009.

The MLB EXTRA INNINGS subscription package of out-of-market games is currently available to DIRECTV subscribers. iN DEMAND owners Comcast, Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable have agreed to carry the package, effective immediately. iN DEMAND also will offer to make the MLB Extra Innings subscription package available to other cable companies across the U.S. Like all distributors of MLB Extra Innings, these cable operators would also be required to carry the MLB Channel once it is launched.

The MLB Channel will be the first and only network dedicated to providing baseball programming to MLB fans 24 hours a day, seven days a week on a year-round basis. Major League Baseball's partnerships with DIRECTV and iN DEMAND mean the MLB Channel is expected to launch in 40 million homes.

"Our chief goal throughout the process was to ensure that fans would have access to as many baseball games and as much baseball coverage as possible," said MLB President and Chief Operating Officer Bob DuPuy. "With this agreement, the MLB Channel will launch with an unprecedented platform. We are pleased with the launch of the MLB Channel to so many homes coupled with our agreement to extend the distribution of MLB Extra Innings with iN DEMAND."

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MLB.TV Unable to Keep Up with Demand Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 April 2007 10:25

MLB.TVAs the Extra Innings negotiations drag on well past the beginning of the season, MLB is finding that popularity—even of the forced variety—can come with a price.

Case in point, MLB.TV.

With many consumers caught in the Extra Innings squeeze-play, many are looking to make sure that they can catch out-of-market games through MLB’s online service. When coupled with MLB offering up MLB.TV free via a 5-Day Trial, and an advertising blitz that saw a full-page ad in today’s USA Today, demand may be at the highest levels yet.

That has created quality issues, especially with the use of Mosaic.

The Mosaic Blog for MLB, which is tracking issues and working to resolve them, is being hit hard with quality concerns. As one reader commented:

Guys, I understand that launching a new product is difficult, and I know you are working hard. But you need to start yelling over to the MLB Executives that the time has come for a public apology about this. We are into Day 4 of the Regular Season and the MLB.tv experience is continuing to degrade.

Given the visibility of the Extra Innings negotiations, and the off-season advertisements touting the increased bandwidth being offered, MLB.com should have been prepared for the issues. Consumers may wish to wait until the bugs are sorted out before making the jump to MLB.TV at this time due to this news.

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Extra Innings: Are You One of the "5000"? Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 April 2007 01:28

The Biz of BaseballDuring last week's hearing entitled Exclusive Sports Programming: Examining Competition and Consumer Choice. Chase Carey Chief Executive Officer for DIRECTV Group, Inc., said in his opening statement, “DIRECTV estimates that there are relatively few viewers – no more than three percent of the cable segment (approximately 180,000 Extra Innings subscribers) – who cannot receive DIRECTV service,” Carey said. “This translates to roughly 5,000 subscribers – each of whom can access the games over the Internet.”

"5000"...

We thought it would be interesting to conduct an unscientific study to see whether there really is, what is now being called, "Selig's 5000".

The Biz of Baseball wants to hear your story.

Tells us if you can't get DirecTV, be it through the inability of line-of-sight to the southern sky, or some other reason.

Lastly (and this is outside Carey's statement, but we feel relevant)  tell us any other story that makes switching more than difficult. Tied into a long-term contract with your provider? Tell us. Live in Philadelphia and can't pay to get both cable and DirecTV so you can continue to watch the Phillies? Ditto.

The concept? Give you visibility to the media, MLB, DirecTV, DISH and iN Demand.

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Extra Innings: Cable Would Be Ready In an Hour Print
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Written by The Staff   
Tuesday, 03 April 2007 09:54

iN DemandFace-to-face meetings are still occurring with the parties as of late Tuesday regarding a deal to keep MLB Extra Innings on cable and DISH Networks.

“We were hoping and expecting that there could be a deal done the last couple of days. Both sides are involved, and they’re continuing to talk,” In Demand spokeswoman Ellen Cooper said.

As mentioned on The Biz of Baseball, the time in which it would take to get Extra Innings back up and running on cable, and presumably DISH would be nominal. As further reported:

[I]f an agreement is reached, In Demand said it is prepared to supply the games to cable operators immediately. “We would be ready, technically, within an hour,” Cooper said.

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Extra Innings: Cablevision Offers MLB.TV for Free Print
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 03 April 2007 06:24

CablevisionAn undercurrent in the Extra Innings saga has been how cable operators are working back-channels in the event that iN Demand is unable to reach a deal. As we reported prior, Cox Communications has begun offering full rebates for MLB.TV to those that were subscribers of Extra Innings last season. MLB has said that the practice of “bulk-buying” MLB.TV subs is unacceptable, but the practice is being put in place by others, including Comcast and Time Warner.

Today, we report on Cablevision’s effort, which looks to credit the account of any customer that goes to MLB.TV “$15 a month for the entire six-month baseball season.”

Cablevision adds that the package is available as they “are continuing to work tirelessly to reach an agreement with Major League Baseball as quickly as possible.”

The disclaimer reads in part (highlighting by Biz of Baseball):

Offer expires April 30th and is available only to residential iO and Optimum Online customers who purchased the 2006 MLB Extra Innings package. All submissions must be postmarked, e-mailed or faxed no later than May 31, 2007. Rebate of $15/mo. for 6 months will appear on your bill within up to 2 months or two billing cycles after receipt. Additional taxes and fees may apply to your MLB.TV service and are the sole responsibility of customer. Upgrade costs are the sole responsibility of customer. Cablevision is not responsible for lost, late, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, incorrect, illegible or postage due requests or mail. Offer void where prohibited, taxed or restricted. Offer subject to change or cancellation without notice. One Cablevision Offeroffer per household. Blackout restrictions apply. MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL,® MLB,® MLB EXTRA INNINGS® and MLB TVSM are trademarks of Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., which is not a  sponsor of Cablevision's service or this offer. Other restrictions may apply. © 2007 CSC Holdings, Inc.

Select the image provided to see a larger view of the ad in a popup.

The reasoning for the offers are fairly simple: Stop the exodus to DirecTV. 

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