The announcement of the deal to make MLB Extra Innings available only on DirecTV may be announced as early as next week, as a last-ditch effort by the cable industry to match DirecTV's offer has been rebuffed.
As reported by Eric Fisher and John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal on today's Sports Business Daily:
Sources familiar with the negotiations said cable reps went back to MLB about a week ago and offered to match the financials of DirecTV’s bid but without the requirement of exclusivity. The cable lobby also agreed to guarantee the same amount of distribution for MLB’s planned channel, which is scheduled to launch as soon as ’09.
As Fisher and Ourland outline, however, the counter-bid did not address a key want by MLB in terms of the 24-hour baseball-only channel; the ability to place the channel on the basic tier. The Basic tier is available to all subscribers. As reported, "As a result, the most recent talks with cable officials failed to gain any significant traction, industry sources said."
The deal has not come without at least some internal acrimony. Padres President Sandy Alderson told the North County (CA) Times, “This deal is particularly unfortunate in San Diego. If you have satellite TV, you can’t get the Padres. Now, if you have cable, you can’t get the MLB package. And if you want both, it means adding one or the other, and it would cost quite a bit of money.”
Cox Communications offers its Channel 4 San Diego, with exclusive rights to Padres games, only to cable operators.
Statements made in advance of the pending deal by MLB vice-president Tim Brosnan went on to say, "Any deal for the Major League Baseball's Extra Innings subscription package, when concluded, will in no way affect a single fan's ability to watch games of his home club in his home market."
OTHER EXTRA INNINGS ONLY ON DIRECTV ARTICLES ON BIZ OF BASEBALL (from oldest to newest)