As part of their quarterly meetings, MLB owners will congregate today in New York, with a chief topic being adjustment of the regional television territories for the 30 clubs.
The television territories are at the heart of MLB’s blackout policy and has created consumer aggravation for those purchasing MLB Extra Innings, the out-of-market television package for the league.
The owners are working to address the convoluted and arcane manner in which territories are defined.
The topic was tabled in the August meetings as owners voiced concerns over several matters, including the so-called “haircut provisions” – the fact that many times advertising deals are tied to audience size, which a paring down a given territory for a club or clubs might impacted.
The proposed adjustment will involve clubs losing a territory or market if they do not broadcast within it. Currently, markets such as Las Vegas sees six clubs claiming the television territory, including the A’s, Giants, Padres, Angels, Dodgers, and Diamondbacks.
MLB sees the urgency in addressing the blackout policy with MLB Network coming online January 1. The fledgling network will reach 50 million households and plans on broadcasting 26 games each season.
The discussion between the owners will not involve national broadcast deals with FOX and ESPN. Those agreements are exclusive, and therefore, national blackouts will remain in place.