It's Mets For Me: Off-Beat, Tangentially Relevant Mets Ruminations

Off Base Since 2005! Mets commentary from the counter-intuitive to the unintuitive and all the intuitives in between. ** "Through the use of humor and gross inaccuracy...a certain truth can be gained." Rob Perri ** (pester me or follow me @itsmetsforme on twitter)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

"Say it Ain't So": Mlb Direct TV deal Update

Happy Super Bowl Sunday everyone! There, now that I've said that, back to what's really important: "Extra Innings."

Well, my letter to Bud is in the mail, my emails have been sent. Now we just wait with our fingers crossed. As the season approaches, the tension mounts.

Some more tidbits from Larry Stewart of the Los Angeles Times (registration required):

On the status of the deal, and the Red Sox nation's role (another gift from the Sawx perhaps?):

Red Sox Nation has spoken. A pending deal by Major League Baseball to put its Extra Innings pay package exclusively on DirecTV may have to be put on hold now, buffeted by an uprising involving baseball's most ardent fans, spearheaded by those who live and die with the Boston Red Sox. MLB expected to announce the deal as early as next week, but that was less certain after Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) on Thursday asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate the matter.

On the MLB's negotiating strategy:

The crux of the deal apparently centered on MLB's plans to launch its own channel in 2009, similar to NFL Network and NBA TV. According to a source familiar with the negotiations, MLB unsuccessfully used Extra Innings as a negotiating wedge to get cable to put the new channel on a basic tier rather than a pay tier so it could get the widest exposure possible. Cable companies, including Time Warner in L.A., often seek to place such niche offerings on a pay sports tier so that only the customers who want them have to pay for them. Last year, a similar carriage dispute took NFL Network off Time Warner.Sports television consultant Neal Pilson said Friday it is his understanding that, indeed, the baseball channel "was a component" in the negotiations. But, he added, "Baseball is almost religious in its financial analysis before making any deal and you can be sure there has been a lot of deliberation and a lot of research that has gone into this."That didn't matter to fans, who have been voicing their displeasure since news of the pending deal broke two weeks ago.

On what Kerry actually did:

The issue gained national attention when Kerry on Wednesday said he would question FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin at a previously scheduled Senate Commerce committee hearing the next day. Kerry left the hearing early, though, and instead faxed a letter to Martin, citing concerns about the deal and contending that Extra Innings has been available to 75 million subscribers but would be available to only 15 million if DirecTV has it alone.Of the 500,000 subscribers to the Extra Innings package last season, 270,000 were with DirecTV, according to sources. Going by those numbers, 230,000 would be left out this season.
Kerry, in his letter, said, "In the case of my hometown team, Red Sox Nation stretches all across our country from coast to coast. I am concerned that this deal … will separate fans from their favorite teams."
Kerry could not be reached by phone Friday, but Vince Morris, a spokesman, said the senator is taking up the fight not only because he is a Red Sox fan but because people had been approaching him, seeking answers."He wants to find out more facts and find out what the FCC can do," Morris said. An FCC spokesman would not comment on Kerry's letter. The agency has some authority over cable and satellite television but generally stays out of programming issues that don't involve local content.

So perhaps there is some more give possible on the cable company's end, although the MLB might be demanding the impossible, the placement of their 2009 Baseball channel on a lower tier. That doesn't make much sense to me, as it would be asking a lot of the cable companies, asking them to upset all of their customers. Also the NFL and NBA channels are both on a separate tier now, aren't they?

Even though they stole my Bud Selig picture idea, haha, why not go sign this petition?


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