Slowly, a stream of articles on the DirecTV deal is starting to occur within the mainstream media and elsewhere. Here’s some other details, as I now have heard them…
- The 7-year deal will start this year (2007) and run to 2013.
- There is still some confusion over what cable offered in response to the DirecTV deal. The figure “$70 million” has been reported, but it’s not clear if that was an annual figure, and it’s still unknown what the number of years being offered in the deal, etc.
As for the reporting on the matter, I start off today on FootballOutsiders.com with Extra Innings Move Could Challenge Sunday Ticket:
A week until the Colts and Bears square off and you’re going through withdrawals. “Next year will be different,” you say. “Next year I’m getting hooked up for as many out-of-market games as I can by getting Sunday Ticket.” Ahh… football bliss, right? That depends.
There’s a steady shift going on with how out-of-market games are being delivered to your home. It’s the NFL now, but MLB, NASCAR, and possibly the NHL have come into play. What’s the shift? DirecTV being the exclusive provider for such packages as Sunday Ticket, and — as became public this week — MLB Extra Innings. DirecTV is bidding $100 million over seven years to be the exclusive provider of the Extra Innings package, $30 million more than current provider InDemand. It will cut access to Extra Innings from roughly 75 million households to roughly 15 million households.
Many football fans have criticized the NFL for not making Sunday Ticket available anywhere but DirecTV. But there’s a chance that an exclusive with MLB for Extra Innings might elevate the monopoly aspect of DirecTV to get members of Congress into the mix, more than they already have.
Tim Lemke of the Washington Times reports on his Sports Business Blog, A shrewd deal for MLB:
Not exactly the most "pro-fan" move by Major League Baseball. In fact, it's kind of evil. But when you analyze it, the deal is pure genius, and here's why:
There is another way to see out-of-market baseball games. It's called MLB.TV Internet service, which the league owns and operates.
Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports lays into MLB heavily with MLB TV deal gets fuzzy reception:
So here comes Major League Baseball in a quick, shortsighted money grab (again), selling out its core fans (again) and telling everyone (again) how the sport ought to be consumed.
Here comes MLB, as arrogant and detached as ever, ready to limit its popular "MLB Extra Innings" package by giving it exclusively to DirecTV rather than a large consortium of cable and satellite providers. And for what, an average of a million bucks per year, per team?
That's the price of fan loyalty these days? That's how much baseball owners value their best costumers? A bad middle reliever?
And my esteemed colleague Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus wrote yesterday in Prospectus Today: The Deal Almost No One Likes:
MLB is going to tick off a subset of that group: EI subscribers who either have Dish Network or cable. However, they’re not going to lose that group of people as fans of MLB as a whole. Some of those people will switch to DirecTV, others will make do with MLB.tv, still others will not purchase a package and live without the extra games. The number of fans that MLB will lose because of this decision, however, could fit in my living room. You simply don’t go from being such a big fan of baseball that you would purchase 1200 games a year on satellite to a non-fan based on one decision.
This is surely just the beginning. Wait till the deal actually is consummated.
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OTHER EXTRA INNINGS ONLY ON DIRECTV ARTICLES ON BIZ OF BASEBALL (from oldest to newest)
Maury Brown is the founder of The Biz of Baseball and an author for Baseball Prospectus. He can be contacted here.