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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.

 
 
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