<in my fastest radio voice> DISCLAIMER: The Business of Sports Network, and The Biz of Baseball are not affiliated with Major League Baseball, it’s 30 clubs, iNDemand, DirecTV, Bud Selig, or the ghost of Harry Caray. In no way, does Bizball LLC take responsibility for giving consumers information that they, apparently, are not getting from their MLB Extra Innings carriers. Let the buyer beware. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming</fast radio voice ends>
It’s a late night here at the Business of Sports Network. We quit answering the phones long ago, but when we start seeing calls coming in regularly after business hours, it’s normally someone with a wrong number to Pizza Hut.
Over the past 24 hours, however, the messaging system has seen a steady stream of calls that go something like this:
“Hi. I turned on a game I was expecting to see on MLB Extra Innings, only to find a black screen and a message saying, 'Call your local cable company with questions.' I called them, and they said to contact you for further information. Can you tell me why I can’t see the game?”
Well, Virginia, there's a big, bad blackout monster out there, but your carrier should have told you that, not the Business of Sports Network.
These messages struck me on a couple of different levels. For one, it’s good to know that we have information that helps consumers understand MLB’s blackout policy. The bad news is, we have information that helps consumers understand MLB’s blackout policy.
In other words, the Business of Sports Network is apparently doing a better job of explaining why fans are being stuck in baseball purgatory than the billion dollar plus industry called Major League Baseball, and the multi-million dollar carriers are doing for their customers. That’s surely no way to run a sports league and the carriers they do business with.
Or, it’s more likely that it’s simply easier for these massive corporations to get your money out of your wallet, and then schlep off the dirty details elsewhere.
Going back to that disclaimer, here’s something else to add:
The Business of Sports Network can’t help get your money back. The best you can do is understand that the Dayton Peace Accords are probably easier for the average consumer to get their head wrapped around than the information that MLB and the carriers of MLB Extra Innings are offering on the blackout policy. Those details are buried in the fine print, and by placing the information there shows MLB is more interested in you forking over the subscription fee, and then dealing with the nasty blackout issues and non-refunds later, thank you very much.
We'll be updating this story as more details emerge. It would be amusing if not for the fact that consumers are stuck with a bill while gnashing teeth at blank screens for a game they thought they could watch.
For those that have yet to purchase MLB Extra Innings and are thinking of doing so, do not make the investment until you fully understand how MLB’s television blackout policy impacts you. Here is suggested reading:
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.
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