Lasix hur stor dos Casodex pris på apoteket Aldactone usa köpa försäljning Sarafem köpa Acticin på nätet köpa Celadrin på cypern kan man köpa Albendazole spanien köpa Lamictal inom eu flytande Synthroid dosering Indocin eljo pris beställa Atorlip-5 från thailand bästa pris på Allopurinol Trial Erection packs dosering föredrag Deltasone snabbast leverans köpa Gyne-lotrimin patong köpa Menosan online 2012 köpa Inderal på postförskott Naprosyn låg dos säkert att köpa Sarafem på nätet vart kan man köpa Lipothin dosering Anacin till hund pris på Nitrofurantoin i sverige köpa Evecare i barcelona köpa kvinnlig Yasmin Shallaki första dos Sildalis nervositet dos billig Flomax på nätet köpa Shuddha flashback 2015 köpa Arcoxia turkiet skillnad mellan generisk Brahmi var köpa äkta Haldol apotekets pris på Fluoxetine köpa Differin i spanien köpa Diovan inom eu beställa Neurontin på nätet Panmycin snabb leverans farligt köpa Haldol på nätet kan man beställa Nasonex behöver man recept för Aristocort köpa Colchicine på apotek köpa Lariam lagligt på nätet Pyridium och träning dosering köpa Dutas i london köpa Exelon tyskland köpa Paroxetine säkert på nätet Zovirax oral lösning pris beställa Zovirax på nätet köpa kvinnlig Kemadrin köpa äkta Flonase på nätet lägre pris på Digoxin köpa Avapro bangkok beställa Shallaki england kan man köpa Florinef på apoteket i spanien köpa Copegus rhodos beställa Aldactone utan recept Bonnispaz dosering första gången försäljning av Bupropion kan man köpa Paxil på teneriffa köpa Alli tjeckien köpa Zyrtec i barcelona Flagyl ER beställa beställa Ayurslim utan recept är det olagligt att beställa Viramune Pletal bra pris köpa Himcocid i phuket kan man köpa Brahmi i kroatien köpa Rosuvastatin på kanarieöarna Bonnispaz vet dosering pris Sominex apotek hjärtat köpa riktig Betnovate köpa Chloroquine flashback eljo Shallaki dimmer pris köp Ashwagandha utan recept beställa Aldactone olagligt recept för Maxalt kan man köpa Hoodia receptfritt hur beställa Trileptal vem vill köpa Artane köpa Vasotec online billigt hur kan jag köpa Coreg Alli duo leverans köpa Doxazosin i tallinn beställa billig Trimox beställa Neurontin på nätet flashback köpa Avana online sverige pris på Midamor på apoteket köpa Zestril på teneriffa Zebeta mot nervositet dos Bupropion billig köpa Elimite i turkiet köpa Apcalis i bangkok Minomycin köpa rekommenderad dos Advair köpa Dostinex amsterdam köpa Imuran grekland var beställa Inderal köpa Lipothin phuket eljo Pristiq dimmer pris köpa Nitrofurantoin på mallorca var kan man köpa Depakote säkert beställa Sarafem köpa Compazine på mallorca Fertomid utan recept Eldepryl gel recept köpa Ethionamide inrikes Yasmin på nätet utan recept säkra sidor att köpa Trandate köpa Zestril seriöst Vasotec generisk Vasotec skillnad köpa Ventolin i spanien köpa Copegus utan recept att köpa Rocaltrol i sverige beställa Entocort till sverige kan man köpa Bystolic på apoteket i spanien Seroquel pris gatan Prazosin dos nervositet tips köpa Zyvox Amoxil recept sverige köpa Tadacip oslo kan man köpa Yougara thailand köpa Voltaren online köpa Arava i riga i vilka länder kan man köpa Reminyl receptfritt köpa Rogaine 2 över disk köpa Furosemide estland Caverta op recept dödlig dos av Seroflo köpa Terramycin i stockholm köpa Penegra bangkok köpa Cefixime i oslo vad kan man köpa Cialis kan man köpa Kytril spanien köpa Hydrochlorothiazide i butik stockholm Compazine bästa pris kan man köpa Atarax i turkiet köpa Cialis köpenhamn försäljning av Trazodone beställa Slim Tea köpa generisk Sominex online generisk Terramycin snabb leverans kan man köpa Furosemide receptfritt i spanien Dramamine rekommenderad dos våga köpa Slimex på nätet Toprol recept var köpa Trimox flashback köp billig Fucidin kan man köpa Hydrochlorothiazide på teneriffa Glycomet tabletter pris sverige köpa Hydrochlorothiazide alanya köpa Ventolin på mallorca köpa Cefadroxil i sverige flashback Imdur dosering vuxna köpa Imdur säkert på nätet köpa Amitriptyline på rhodos Xenical vägguttag pris är det lagligt att köpa Metoclopramide på nätet köpa Peni Large seriöst Ampicillin dosering ångest köpa Bupron SR i tallin Tinidazole köpa sverige pris Bactroban på apoteket Mobic vilken dos Valtrex dosering rampfeber Noroxin beställa container köpa Cyklokapron orifarm köpa Acivir malmö Forzest sverige snabb leverans köpa Detrol köpenhamn köpa Lisinopril i spanien lägsta pris på Menosan recept för Slim Tea kan man köpa Trental i turkiet pris på Cozaar sverige köpa Serevent säkert online köpa Isoniazid gel generisk Cleocin biverkningar att köpa Albendazole i sverige Exelon bra pris att köpa Lamictal i sverige köpa jord Pilex köpa generic Alli hur får man Micardis på recept Arimidex utan recept i sverige billig Zenegra på nätet köpa Antabuse sverige flashback behövs recept för Celexa i spanien Arcoxia dos första gången Cipro recept sverige kan man köpa Indocin i grekland måste man ha recept för att köpa Vytorin köpa äkta Forzest på nätet pris på Minocycline i sverige lagligt köpa Amantadine köpa Metoclopramide postförskott Slim Tea duo leverans vågar man köpa Zithromax på nätet köpa Himcolin lagligt köpa Dipyridamole från england lägsta pris på Silvitra beställa Sominex på internet Caverta k dosering vart kan jag köpa Lynoral bästa stället att köpa Benadryl på bästa stället att köpa Apcalis på pris Ophthacare sverige köpa blå Innopran Endep dosering till katt köpa Triamterene jelly köpa Effexor i italien Bactrim pris apoteket Clozaril op recept köpa Requip 10mg Minocycline nervositet dos Trandate dosering föredrag Keppra dosering första gången köpa Zestoretic i ungern köpa Elimite på nätet lagligt köpa Zovirax på apotek kan man köpa Rocaltrol på apoteket i spanien billig Claritin snabb leverans lagligt köpa Eldepryl köpa Eurax barcelona vart ska man köpa Cytoxan köpa Diakof tabletter Zanaflex dosering till katt apoteket hjärtat Rosuvastatin pris köpa Evista lagligt i sverige köpa Inderal i turkiet Arava pris på apoteket köpa Pyridium köpa Cabgolin på nätet sverige köpa Fucidin i stockholm köpa Diabecon utan recept köpa Penegra seriöst pris på Lotrisone sverige rekommenderad dos Viagra köpa Imitrex i göteborg köpa Emsam billigt Lotrisone pris apoteket köpa Pyridium snabb leverans vart kan man köpa Cardura online Tetracycline lägre pris Lotensin bästa pris kan man köpa Sinemet på mallorca bra ställe att köpa Reminyl Zaditor eljo pris beställa Altace online flashback generisk Geriforte sverige är det olagligt att beställa Unisom apotekets pris på Toprol var kan man köpa Singulair receptfritt kan man köpa Allegra thailand bra sida att köpa Estrace vart kan man köpa Dulcolax lagligt köpa Diflucan eljo Top Avana uttag pris Naltrexone sverige snabb leverans lägre pris på Dutas köpa Atarax i bangkok köpa Premarin prag köpa Fucidin i indien köpa Caverta i filippinerna Lopid generisk Lopid skillnad köpa Tadacip i england köpa Grifulvin V flashback 2014 beställa Mentat på nätet Kytril kräm köpa pasteta od Cialis recept köpa Aldara grekland beställa Atrovent till sverige köpa Lady era estland var kan man köpa Diclofenac på nätet köpa Sumycin på kanarieöarna vart beställa Nasonex Kemadrin migrän dos köpa Levothroid 100mg köpa Toprol i danmark köpa Aciphex prag köpa Speman i lettland behövs recept för Clonidine vart ska man köpa Bactroban Arava dosering vuxen lagligt att köpa Acivir köpa Cardizem i kina beställa Nimotop på nätet 2014 köpa Motilium i ungern Uroxatral beställa container köpa Duphalac i ryssland köpa Celebrex i filippinerna vilka länder kan man köpa Voveran receptfritt var kan man köpa Motilium duo pris på Hydrochlorothiazide på apoteket Nolvadex pulver köpa är det säkert att köpa Lopressor på nätet Finast att köpa generisk Slim Tea sverige köpa Vermox nätet köpa Elimite grekland lägsta pris på Himplasia lägsta pris Zenegra Calcium Carbonate första dos köpa Medrol köpenhamn köpa Citalopram på kreta köpa Atorlip-5 sverige 2012 Clomid gel pris apoteket Tricor migrän dos köpa Dostinex i kroatien Temovate mot nervositet dos Evista att köpa beställa Celexa på nätet olagligt att beställa Prevacid köpa billigaste Rumalaya Pyridium k dosering Clonidine i sverige utan recept köpa Alli från sverige köpa Top Avana i frankrike att köpa Neurontin köpa Voveran i lettland hur ska man köpa Mircette Zebeta migrän dos Moduretic eljo pris köpa Zyloprim i usa köpa Lasix lagligt på nätet köpa Fucidin online billigt Aciphex 10 mg köpa pris Robaxin sverige beställa Minocin på faktura pris på Orlistat i sverige köpa Septilin online 2013 beställa Grifulvin V utan recept köpa Pyridium mot postförskott Unisom köpa apoteket pris för Lisinopril beställa Floxin på nätet 2014 köpa Rocaltrol barcelona Finax dosering vuxna är det olagligt att beställa Shuddha Zoloft plåster pris kan man köpa Lopressor på apoteket i spanien köpa Nitrofurantoin från england kan man köpa Dilantin på apoteket köpa blå Zocor köpa Sinequan från turkiet köpa Finast i norge köpa Emsam i frankrike apoteket Ponstel gel pris vilka länder kan man köpa Topamax receptfritt lagligt att beställa Antivert var köper man billig Propranolol apotekets pris på Dramamine lagligt att köpa Atorlip-10 köpa Tadacip över disk beställa Erythromycin flashback säker sida att köpa Pilex var kan man köpa Fucidin duo är det lagligt köpa Cyklokapron på nätet köpa Augmentin var köpa Detrol i sverige flashback Calcium Carbonate beställa viagra Amoxil köpa Propranolol med snabb leverans är det olagligt att köpa Top Avana på nätet beställa Accutane sverige kan man köpa Olanzapine på apotek Kamagra migrän dosering Precose snabbast leverans köpa Pilex i helsingborg köpa Bonnispaz kräm köpa Tricor egypten måste man ha recept på Prinivil Sinemet utan recept i sverige beställa Gasex england köpa Nitrofurantoin i filippinerna var kan man köpa Avapro kan man köpa Tegretol i thailand köpa Remeron i spanien kan man köpa Zofran på ica köpa Ceftin i helsingborg lagligt att beställa Clozaril på nätet vart kan man beställa Finpecia flytande Lincocin dos var kan man beställa Eldepryl Vytorin hög dos Lincocin bra pris köpa laglig Evista köpa Aygestin amsterdam är det recept på Voveran köpa Saw Palmetto spanien vill köpa Tofranil köpa Amaryl i spanien Cystone billig köpa Gyne-lotrimin online sverige köp generisk Motilium måste man ha recept på Femara köpa Big Appeal amsterdam Singulair mot nervositet dos köpa Dilantin på apotek eljo Haldol bästa pris var kan man köpa Atorlip-20 receptfritt kan man köpa Himcocid i spanien köpa Motilium i turkiet kan man köpa Cabgolin receptfritt i danmark beställa Abana för kvinnor köpa Hyzaar phuket köpa generic Panmycin Zestoretic jelly köpa kan man köpa Vantin på apoteket köpa Benadryl i danmark våga köpa Sarafem på nätet köpa generisk Omnicef beställa Acticin billigt köpa Medrol i turkiet var kan man köpa Lanoxin duo Erexin-V dos urinvägsinfektion köpa Benadryl tjeckien säkert att köpa Detrol på nätet sänkt pris på Norvasc köpa Dilantin i norge köpa Oxytrol utomlands hur stor dos Robaxin ska man ta Lipothin kräm pris kan man köpa Serophene i kroatien pris Trial Erection packs sverige bästa stället att köpa Chloramphenicol på Levitra dosering migrän Cefadroxil dosering migrän köpa Synthroid i tallin köpa Doxycycline Endep nervositet dos kan man köpa Nasonex på mallorca köpa generisk Serevent köpa Prinivil jelly köpa Fosamax duo beställa Sildalis till sverige Toprol pris på apoteket köpa Penegra online flashback säkert ställe att köpa Fosamax beställa Tricor england beställa Actonel från thailand köpa Tenormin från turkiet beställa blå Benadryl Bupropion rekommenderad dos köpa Accutane online 2012 vad kan man köpa Acticin köpa Phexin flashback köpa Betnovate prag beställa Indocin pulver Beconase AQ vet dosering köpa Zestoretic på rhodos Malegra beställa container köpa Tetracycline på gran canaria köpa Motrin apoteket apoteket Naltrexone pris lagligt att köpa Lexapro köpa Grifulvin V polen köpa Proscar phuket beställa Sinemet lagligt kan man köpa Elimite i italien kan man köpa Neurontin i tyskland köpa Prednisone beställa Geriforte 2012 kan man beställa Metformin köpa billigaste Lukol Terramycin snabb leverans sverige beställa Benemid på faktura köpa Zestril oral jelly köpa Wellbutrin i italien köpa Yasmin i apoteket köpa Clarina receptfritt Benzac eljo pris kan man köpa Dutas på apoteket i sverige köpa Cardizem stockholm Pyridium snabb leverans sverige köpa Exelon i england Dilantin shampoo köpa att köpa Ampicillin i sverige generisk Charboleps snabb leverans köpa Diclofenac utomlands lagligt att köpa Cefixime på nätet hur ska man köpa Tenormin köpa Medrol online flashback var kan man köpa Xenical receptfritt köpa blå Femara beställa billig Cholestoplex köpa Diflucan online Cabgolin migrän dos olagligt att köpa Nizagara Requip jelly köpa Nexium pris i sverige lagligt köpa Evecare köpa Seroflo jelly köpa Zovirax över disk generisk Deltasone snabb leverans köpa Reglan på nätet lagligt beställa Coreg pulver skaffa recept till Shallaki Prazosin vet dosering beställa Luvox flashback Benemid pris apoteket hjärtat
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MLB Network Vs. Other League Networks PDF Print E-mail
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Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Friday, 04 December 2009 12:36

MLB NetworkOn January 1st of this year, MLB became the last of the “Big 4” to launch their own TV channel with the debut of MLB Network (MLBN). The initial year of MLBN has been deemed a success by MLB officials. The channel debuted in 50 million plus homes (a record launch for a cable channel), ad revenues were reportedly strong (given the recession) and the programming received positive reviews (the addition of Bob Costas gave the channel’s journalistic credibility a major boost).

But what is the future of league owned networks? MLB’s rights deals with all three of their national TV partners (Fox, TBS and ESPN) expire in 2013. Those deals pay MLB upwards of $650 million per year. All of the “big 4” (most notably MLB and the NFL) must balance the enormous value of their national TV deals against the challenge of growing the revenues of their own channels. In a nutshell, the leagues have become competitors with their broadcast partners. Neal Pilson, former president of CBS Sports, was quoted in a recent Los Angeles Times piece by Jon Weinbach titled, “Sports league cable networks play a dangerous game”, (Leagues) "have to be aware of -- and careful not to kill -- their golden goose, What is the endgame?" In a March 2008 Q&A with The SportsBusiness Journal, Fox Sports Chairman David Hill addressed the relationship between league owned networks and their broadcast partners:

Do you see any new models in terms of how networks deal with the leagues beyond right fees?
Hill: Who knows? The modeling might change. The modeling might remain the same. I don’t know. But it’s going to be a sad day for the leagues if the current model disappears. It would require a lot of late nights on Park Avenue, with the lights burning to try and figure out what their economic structure looks like without the networks.

So then why are leagues launching NFL Network and MLB Channel to compete with you?
Hill: What’s the financial viability of the NFL Network? Do you think the NFL is going to say to the networks, “See you later. We’re going to go make our money off of the NFL Network”?

If we’re talking about 20 years, yeah, I can see that as an end goal.
Hill: It could well be in 20 years, but certainly not in the next decade. Same thing with MLB Network. Talk to David Stern. He’s had NBA Network going for what, 15 years now?

In the present, how important are these league owned cable channels? There are approximately 115 million TV households in the US. MLBN and NFL Network (easily the most widely distributed of the “big 4” channels) are available in approximately 53 million of those homes. The NFL Network launched in 2003 and only this season achieved the same level of distribution as MLBN. (more on that below) By comparison, ESPN is available in approximately 99 million homes.  Last month, The SportsBusiness Journal quoted Comcast Programming Group President Jeff Shell, “The amount of money each of the leagues is making from their network is de minimis compared to the amount of money we’re all paying for rights,…” Jon Weinbach reported in his aforementioned piece, “Networks with fewer than 70 million subscribers are generally not considered "national buys" by advertising agencies, and therefore can't generate premium rates for commercials.”

If the league owned cable channels are relatively minor players today, is that set to change in the near future? There has been much speculation that the “big 4” are concerned about the increasing dominance of ESPN in the sports TV marketplace and that the league owned channels are necessary to protect the future value of broadcast rights. Over the air broadcasters have concluded that their “ad based” model can no longer compete with the “dual revenue” (ads and carriage fees) model of cable TV. As a result, the over the air broadcasters are negotiating with cable operators over compensation for the “retransmission rights” to their local stations. In some markets, broadcasters have even threatened to “pull“ their local stations from the cable operator over “retransmission fees”. ESPN receives a monthly subscriber fee from cable operators and sat providers of upwards of $4. That before they sell a single ad. John Ourand reported last month in The Sports Business Journal:

The debate over retransmission rights — where broadcasters want cable operators to pay cash to carry their local stations — will be one of the most closely watched issues over the next year, as the two sides try to determine how high the monthly “retrans fee” should be

It’s not a stretch to suggest that the long-term future of broadcast networks as pivotal players in televised sports is at stake. If broadcasters somehow don’t add dollars to their coffers, the likelihood of big payouts during the next round of major sports TV negotiations from 2011 to 2013, which include the NFL, MLB and NHL, seems remote.

Tom Van Riper reported last month for Forbes:

The most obvious advantage to starting your own programming arm: controlling the pipeline through which your product goes out. Baseball's rights deals with ESPN and Fox both expire after the 2013 season. With new agreements to be negotiated, what's better leverage than having the option to tell a potential network partner that you can put the games on the air yourself if the price isn't right?

"You want to become a content provider, because you never know what the future holds," says Lee Berke, a New York-based sports media consultant.

Last month, John Ourand and Tripp Mickle of The SportsBusiness Journal filed a report titled Are leagues only potential ESPN rival?”from the Sports Media & Technology conference.

The sports industry continues to look for a competitor to step up and compete with ESPN, and the consensus at an industry conference last week is that only one group is poised to pose an actual threat to the sports media giant: the leagues.

The majority of attendees at last week’s conference said they believed league-owned networks were most likely to compete with ESPN.

In the same report, Dick Ebersol, Chairman NBC Sports & Olympics, remarked on the “dual revenue” advantage that ESPN has over the over the air broadcasters:

“No one in the history of media has ever opened up the new year every year knowing they have $5 billion sitting over there on the side of the room,” he said. “So anything ESPN wants, ESPN can have. Now whether that’s healthy in the long run for every sports property in America, you decide — because at a certain point in time, all of us will be out of business, and then they’ll only be there to deal with everybody, and I don’t believe the goodness of their heart is better than the goodness of anyone’s heart in this room in a situation like that.”

No doubt the “Big 4” are extremely happy about the merger of the nation’s largest cable provider Comcast with NBC Universal. Long rumoured, the deal has the potential to turn Comcast’s sports channel “Versus” into a worthy rival to ESPN. (see The Biz of Hockey report, NBCU & VERSUS: An Alternative to ESPN?) Although regulatory approval of the merger is expected to take at least a year and likely more, the impact on the sports broadcast industry is potentially huge. Earlier this week Richard Sandomir reported in The New York Times:

Comcast would have to decide to spend what is necessary to lure viewers from ESPN and ESPN2 by acquiring bigger events, like the Olympics, Major League Baseball, the N.F.L., Nascar and the N.B.A. — properties on a tier above its current rights to IndyCar, the Professional Bull Riders, Mountain West Conference football and mixed martial arts.

AND

So, if Comcast is serious financially and qualitatively, it and NBC could turn Versus into a credible rival. It could turn Versus into a network that would provide cable operators (like Comcast) leverage in negotiations with ESPN.

It might also make leagues giddy, knowing they could potentially juggle large-scale bids from Versus.

“You can see that the leagues must be concerned about the next round of negotiations,” said Randy Falco, the former president of the NBC Universal Television Group. “They’re asking, ‘Where’s the money coming from?’ Less and less over the next 10 years will it come from the broadcast networks, so they’re looking for an alternative.”

In the immediate future, the league owned cable channels will attempt to add subscribers, which in turn boosts ad revenues. Adding subscribers has proven a difficult challenge for the league owned channels. Cable operators have been pushing back against the rising cost of sports programming with lengthy battles ensuing over the relegation of sports channels to “sports tiers” as opposed to the more deeply penetrated “basic tiers”. The NFL and MLB have opted for different approaches in their negotiations with cable and sat providers.

As previously noted, NFL Network only reached the same level of distribution as MLBN this season, despite launching six years earlier. Despite the relatively minor availability of the channel, in 2006 the NFL gave their network the sole right to broadcast 8 regular season games. (Played on a Thursday or Saturday) The league reportedly rejected a $400 million plus offer from Comcast for the 8 game package, convinced that demand for the games would incite fans to pressure their cable providers to add NFL Network to their line ups. Comcast (the nation’s largest cable provider) responded by moving the channel to a more expensive and less penetrated “tier”. A court battle and bitter public relations campaign ensued until this season when the two sides came to an agreement. A resolution was reached as a result of the NFL lowering their carriage fee for the channel and the launch of the NFL’s RedZone channel, a companion “Sunday look in” product tailored to the “fantasy” fan. Cable operators had long argued that DirecTV had an unfair advantage in programming the NFL as the exclusive provider of “Sunday Ticket”, long a hit with “fantasy” fans. The new agreement has resulted in an additional 11 million subscribers for NFL Network, 53 million as opposed to 42 million last season.

Select Read More to see why MLB Network's model has been a success compared to other league-owned networks

MLB was able to launch MLBN in 53 million homes because they made many of the biggest cable and sat providers partners in the channel. The cable operators are obviously more motivated to program MLBN on their most popular services if they own a stake in the channel. (The NFL long argued that Comcast gave preferential treatment to sports channels that they own. I.E. The Golf Channel) MLB also made their popular out of market “Extra Innings” package available to their MLBN partners. (similar to the NFL’s recent introduction of “RedZone”) Last month, Stuart Miller reported for Multichannel News:

MLB Network, the latest entrant among the bunch, took a distinctive path to gaining distribution, selling minority ownership stakes to some of the biggest players in the game: Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and DirecTV. Thanks to this tactic, the big leagues' network launched last January in a record 53 million homes — roughly half the TV universe. (The network also tied carriage to its out-of-market “MLB Extra Innings” package.)

“We feel really good about where we are,” said network president Tony Petitti, who credits MLB's executive vice president of business, Tim Brosnan, with the plan.

That's because in one year, MLB caught up to NFL Network, also in 53 million homes, even though the gridiron channel has been around since 2003.

Lee Berke, a sports media consultant, spoke with Tom Van Riper for the aforementioned Forbes report:

He likes MLB Network's strategy of avoiding its cable carriers' premium tiers, going for wide distribution over greater revenue per subscriber. The network debuted to a potential audience of 50 million homes in January 2009, many more than its NFL and NBA counterparts……

"A subscription service that gets $5 or $10 a channel might get only 10 million homes," says Berke. "Better to be in 50 million homes, that's how you maximize affiliate [advertising] revenue." Advertisers like predictability--knowing roughly how many viewers comprise the audience. Staying off premium channels greatly reduces the audience churn rate: People come and go from premium services all the time, while most everyone sticks with the basic services.

In fairness to the NFL, which has been widely criticized in the sports media for mishandling negotiations with the cable and sat industry over distribution of their channel, they are now in the same number of homes as MLBN. But, NFL Network charges double the carriage fee of MLBN (reportedly approx. $0.50 per sub compared to approx. $0.24 per sub) and they have not given up 1/3 of the equity in their channel to cable and satellite.

Ultimately, the league owned channels best opportunity to increase subscribers lies in increasing the number of live games they broadcast. MLBN has plans to broadcast more live games next season. Whether or not the leagues are cannibalizing the existing value of this programming to RSNs and national TV partners is a matter of debate. From Jon Weinbach’s aforementioned piece in the Los Angeles Times:

"League offices have an unhealthy belief that viewers, consumers and distributors want more of their product," said one veteran cable executive, who declined to be identified because his network is in business with all of the leagues. It’s going to be interesting to see over time how they manage that contradiction and how they manage a fair bidding process when the auctioneer is one of the bidders.”

Tim Brosnan, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Business commented last month in the SportsBusiness Journal on the subject of programming more live games on MLBN (Mr. Brosnan is credited with leading MLB’s successful negotiations with cable and sat during the MLBN launch):

MLB executives are quick to acknowledge the power of live MLB games as the surest way to expand the network. Last season, the MLB Network carried more than 50 live MLB games.

“We know from the cable networks and the broadcast networks in the sports business, it’s live events that really draw the customers in,” Brosnan said. “You can make a lot of money on syndicated shows and talk and highlights. But you draw bigger audiences on events.”

Still, Brosnan said MLB is not close to making a decision on whether to add to the channel’s live game schedule when the league’s TV contracts with ESPN, Fox and TBS end in 2013. “The biggest decisions that are going to have to be made in our industry as it relates to MLB Network is the depth and level of events that we put on our air,” he said.

Beyond building equity and reaping operating profits from these channels, there are ancillary benefits for the leagues. MLB uses MLBN to promote the WBC and the amateur draft (MLB has long sought the media attention that the drafts in the other “stick and ball” leagues generate). The NFL Network has generated significant interest in broadcasting the “scouting combine”, which ties in with promotion of the already wildly popular NFL draft.

If there is concern amongst distributors, programmers, leagues and fans that there is too much sports on television, it might be premature. Yes, the recession might be keeping more fans in front of their sets but the TV audience numbers for NFL games this season are still astounding. Yes, the Yankees were in the World Series for the first time since 2003 and there were many thrilling postseason contests but still, the TV audience numbers for the MLB playoffs were enormous. A lacklustre MLB regular season (lack of compelling playoff races), resulted in diminished ratings for FOX and ESPN while TBS ratings were stable. Perhaps more importantly, RSN ratings for regular season baseball were stable (albeit interpretation of those numbers on a macro level are made more difficult because ratings are directly tied to team performance). Going forward, whether or not broadcast networks remain a major player in TV sports, or whether or not Versus steps up to increase demand for sports programming, or whether or not the league owned networks become increasingly important, remains to be seen. What we do know is that in this era of audience fragmentation, DVRs, video games, internet and social networking, live sports remains one of the last (THE last?) media properties capable of delivering a mass audience. The last word from the aforementioned report from Multichannel News:

Most sports attract loyal viewers, mostly men in crucial demographics, and have the potential to draw big TV crowds. Live professional sports programming, especially in high definition, is the ultimate penetration driver, said Tennis Channel CEO Ken Solomon.

“It's the one thing in television that continues to defy ratings gravity,” he said.


OTHER NEWS FROM THE BUSINESS OF SPORTS NETWORK

(THE BIZ OF FOOTBALL)

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(SPORTS BASH)


Pete Toms is an author for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

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Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?