Written by Maury Brown
Tuesday, 27 February 2007 06:38
Could the deal between MLB and DirecTV to make Extra Innings exclusively available be falling apart? Chris Isidore of CNN/Money hints that that may be the case: As reported:
One source familiar with negotiations said he now believes that the Extra Innings package will remain available to all three services.
"I'd be surprised if the DirecTV deal goes through," he said.
As Isidore correctly reports, this isn’t about gaining more rights fees, but rather how The Baseball Channel is placed in the programming tiers.
Isidore further reports:
"There will be a commitment to carry the Baseball Network (on cable)," said the industry official. "Where it will be placed, that still needs to be sorted out."
Another source with the league said he was not aware of any shift away from plans to go with an exclusive deal for DirecTV. But talks have lingered for months without an official announcement even as baseball's opening day draws near.
A non-exclusive deal would not only reduce the risk of any interference from Washington. It will also allow baseball to not anger more than 200,000 of its most loyal customers who would have to shift television services to keep following their teams.
Stay tuned. As we reported last week, MLB was reportedly on the verge of announcing the deal when John Kerry and the FCC jumped into the fray. One wonders if the deal gets scuttled due to external forces (fan discontent, pressure from members of Congress and the FCC), as well as internal grumblings (several markets will be impacted by the deal).