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DirecTV Deal Tied to New 24-Hour MLB Channel PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 29 January 2007 02:49

DirecTVSome more details are emerging this AM via Eric Fisher, John Ourand and the Sports Business Journal and MLB’s effort to make Extra Innings available exclusively through DirecTV. If you do not have a subscription to the Sports Business Journal, I highly recommend it.

Here are some more details on the deal, as it is now known.

  • MLB and DirecTV are in the final stages of negotiating the $700 million deal, and that a formal announcement will occur within the next 2 weeks.
  • Extra Innings as an exclusive on DirecTV would begin this year.
  • The MLB channel slated to air in 2009 and provisionally titled in the past as The Baseball Channel, will be provided on the basic tier of DirecTV
  • As reported by the SBJ, “Programming will include some regular-season games, in particular some nonexclusive Saturday night contests that were not sold last year in the national broadcast deals with Fox and Turner.”
  • Some Arizona Fall League, spring training and minor league games will be shown on the channel, as well.
  • Extra Innings would be co-marketed with MLBAM’s online out-of-market product, MLB.TV.
  • In related news, MLB.TV will see an increase in the quality of the feeds this season. As reported, “Game video will be streamed at a rate of 700 Kbps instead of the 350 Kbps to 400 Kbps rate of last year.”

As to how the press—both mainstream and alternative—have slammed the deal due to the restrictions on consumers, one executive is quoted as saying:

“There will be some people unhappy at the outset, but this is exactly what the NFL, the alleged market leader, and the NCAA have already done,” said an MLB executive, referring to their DirecTV-only deals for out-of-market game packages. “This is a chance to reinvigorate the product and, with the channel, get to some underserved areas of the sport.”

Apparently, the deal hinged on DirecTV's willingness to place Major League Baseball’s long-planned 24-hour TV network on an expanded basic tier, which InDemand was unwilling to do. Since MLB has been working toward a 24-hour baseball-only channel since 2004, this appears to be the tipping point in relationship to fan backlash due to removing Extra Innings from cable and the Dish Network.

(source: Sports Business Journal – Eric Fisher and John Ourand - DirecTV talks hinge on MLB net)

If you have an opinion on the DirecTV deal, make sure and register in the Biz of Baseball forums and comment within this thread.

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