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  1. #1
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    Default MLB Extra Innings -- Only on DirecTV?




    Today on Baseball Prospectus there is a report by Maury Brown on a fascinating and potentially awful development for baseball fans: Apparently, MLB is in deep negotiations with DirecTV on an exclusive contract that would make the satellite company the sole carrier of MLB Extra Innings. So instead of a loosening of the blackout rules as we might have hoped, it appears quite likely that access to MLB programming will become even more restrictive, with anyone who wants Extra Innings forced to subscribe to DirecTV.

    This is a premium article so I can't repost it, but this seems like it may be close to a done deal. Brown writes that this move, in conjunction with some other suspicious shuffling, may prompt Congress to re-examine baseball's antitrust exemption, but I'd prefer my legislators worry about matters other than how I watch baseball on cable. Hopefully someone sensible will steer baseball away from this agreement in time.
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    I was under the impression that Extra Innings was already exclusive to DirecTV last summer. Maybe I'm confused about that. At the very least, the Extra Innings package has been available on increasingly fewer platforms.

    I'm a DirecTV customer but I am considering ending my Extra Innings subscription after four years of having it.
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    It was on cable last year. I know people who have it.

    I had it on Directv last year but don't know if I'll renew it. It's really expensive.
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    MLB is really getting obnoxious. I hate all of the exclusiveness going on now. They got rid of the best baseball game ver made and now they're going to screw their cable customers. Stupid.
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    I am very glad that I have XM so I can listen to every game.

    MLB Extra Innings has zero appeal to me unless they carry the games in HD. this does give me yet another excuse for telling off the Comcast people when they contact me though.

    Also, I know that the Senate was looking into DirectTV and NFL Direct Ticket because of its exclusivity, this might further push them investigate DirecTV (who I am beginning to not exactly care for - but I prefer them over Comcast)
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    They are talking about just for the TV portion though, the broadband stuff will remain unchanged? I pipe that through my computer to the TV anyway, so it's not that big of a deal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho17
    They are talking about just for the TV portion though, the broadband stuff will remain unchanged? I pipe that through my computer to the TV anyway, so it's not that big of a deal.
    I am pretty sure that is owned and operated by MLB, so I don't see them giving it up.
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    All is not yet lost for cable viewers. A quick search of Google News turned this up...

    http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6404687.html
    In Demand, Baseball Talk 'Innings’ Deal
    By R. Thomas Umstead 1/8/2007

    Cable operators are hoping not to strike out on a renewal of Major League Baseball’s out-of-market game package prior to opening day in April.

    Video-on-demand purveyor In Demand is in talks to renew cable’s deal to distribute the “MLB Extra Innings” package, even as the league is discussing an exclusive distribution arrangement with DirecTV Inc., similar to the direct-broadcast satellite service’s deal with the National Football League for its “NFL Sunday Ticket.”

    Cable operators have been offering the $170 MLB Extra Innings package — which offers as many as 900 games a year — since 2001. Initially, DBS leader DirecTV held the exclusive rights to that content.

    But cable executives with knowledge of the deal say the DirecTV is making a major push to again secure exclusive rights to the package, in an effort to give it more of a sports-content advantage over cable and satellite archrival Dish Network. Neither DirecTV nor MLB officials could be reached for comment.

    In Demand officials would only say that the company is in negotiations with MLB, declining to elaborate.

    While the baseball pact is important to cable from a competitive standpoint, it’s not hitting home runs in the subscriber arena.

    Kagan Associates estimates that Extra Innings generated 280,000 subscribers across both cable and satellite services in 2005. That pales by comparison to the 600,000 subscribers netted by the National Basketball Association’s “NBA League Pass” package and the nearly 2 million scored by Sunday Ticket during the same time period, according to Kagan.

    Further, the package is dwarfed by the 1.3 million subscribers that baseball generated in 2005 for its $79.95 MLB.TV subscription broadband service, according to New York Magazine. The package includes live games, as well as extensive highlights and classic contests. Sports-programming consultant Lee Berke believes that the emergence of the broadband package could allow MLB to take DirecTV’s exclusive package without alienating cable subscribers.

    “[MLB.TV] has become so widely distributed in its own right that it’s become a balancing act — the leagues are looking at various platform and the dollars they get, and trying to figure out whether exclusivity or multiple distributors makes sense,” he said. “My guess is that if DirecTV comes up with enough money, then baseball may say, 'We’re doing so well with MLB.TV maybe it’s worth it to explore being exclusive with DirecTV.’ ”

    Cable does not receive any cut of the revenue from MLB.TV, but the industry benefits because its high-speed Internet access facilitates customer viewing and ultimately satisfaction with the broadband package.

    Next up on cable’s out-of-market docket: the National Hockey League’s “NHL Center Ice” package, which expires after the 2006-07 season.

    An NHL spokesman would only say that it has begun discussions on potential renewals with current partners.

  9. #9
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    How many games of each team are shown per year on Extra Innings? Is it the same for every team?

    Are any of you people who have it outside of the Detroit market? Is it worth the money?

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson_cannery
    How many games of each team are shown per year on Extra Innings? Is it the same for every team?

    Are any of you people who have it outside of the Detroit market? Is it worth the money?
    It's the best $160 I spend every year. Well worth the price.

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    this COULD be a good thing for the DirecTV viewers who do subscribe (ME)...The NFL's exclusivity has done good things as far as the Red Zone Channel, ShortCuts, etc....and the NBA League Pass while also carrying SEVERAL HD games a week, also gives you the ability to watch the games live on the computer for free too. I just hope that along with Extra Innings, they could finally get an MLB TV Network -- if the NBA has one, and the NFL has one, it's about time for a 24/7/365 Baseball Network
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    My only beef with DirecTV is I cannot get local channels via the dish. My zip code is in a blackout area, but Dish Network subscribers are allowed to get locals through the dish. Basically DirecTV just hasn't coughed up the cash to the local affiliates yet.

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    This is not good news. Since MLB EI is what I watch most on television, I guess I'll be switching to direct tv.
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    DirecTV rocks. If you use me as a reference when or if you switch we both get 50 bucks.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Franks151
    It's the best $160 I spend every year. Well worth the price.

    I'm going to buy it this year. I liked the free preview they had last year.
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    Directtv is much better than having to deal with Comcast and I am very happy with their service. I can't see how anyone can think $159 is an expensive price for a whole season. 4 people attending 1 game live will approach, if not surpass, that cost. It is the best deal around in my opinion, especially if you like to watch games in addition to your favorite team.
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    Yea, the Broadband service is pretty good, I just wish they would ditch the blackout rules. It would really take off if people could watch the home team. I'm not sure why they do it anyway, it just picks up the local broadcast anyway, why should those channels care, just as long as the ads hit the viewer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by DrWho17
    Yea, the Broadband service is pretty good, I just wish they would ditch the blackout rules. It would really take off if people could watch the home team. I'm not sure why they do it anyway, it just picks up the local broadcast anyway, why should those channels care, just as long as the ads hit the viewer.

    I never did understand the blackout rules as far as any sports are concerned -- but my situation is of the utmost idiotic-ness, if that is a word. I am in Buffalo, NY and the Indians and Pirate games are blacked out on Extra Innings -- am I supposed to go to the Indians and Pirate games in person in order to watch them, because, after all, isn't that the base rationale of the blackout rule??????
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    My reaction: NOOOOO!!!!
    I have dish network, because their HD DVR rules, and if I lose extra innings this year, I will be bumming.

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    I personally wouldn't bother with Extra Innings until they lift ALL blackout restrictions. If I'm going to cough up $160, I want to be able to access everything. I live in an area where the Brewers, Tigers, Cubs & White Sox all claim I live in their market. If MLB got wise and lifted the blackout restrictions, I bet they would get a huge raise in the amount of subscriptions they receive.
    Last edited by diamondhead; 01-09-2007 at 02:37 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondhead
    I personally wouldn't bother with Extra Innings until they lift ALL blackout restrictions. If I'm going to cough up $160, I want to be able to access everything. I live in a area where the Brewers, Tigers, Cubs & White Sox all claim I live in their market. If MLB got wise and lifted the blackout restrictions, I bet they would get a huge raise in the amount of subscriptions they receive.
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  22. #22
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    This is a troubling development although it shouldn't be all that surprising. Sports exclusivity is the norm for subscriber based radio (XM of course has baseball as was mentioned earlier), it was only a matter of time before it happened with a TV deal. DishNet provides a service where you can receive all FSN networks (as do other providers I'm sure), for much cheaper than Extra Innings, so I guess if it comes down to it, this would be the "next best thing" if DirecTV was awarded an exclusive contract. This would work great for out of town Tiger fans, but it probably wouldn't be so helpful for fans of teams like the Royals or White Sox who's games are on RSTN and Comcast Sports Net respectively.

    The thing I hate most about exclusive deals is the economics of them. Once a business entity gains a monopoly, the prices will be driven up.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zakk_Wylde
    DishNet provides a service where you can receive all FSN networks (as do other providers I'm sure), for much cheaper than Extra Innings, so I guess if it comes down to it, this would be the "next best thing" if DirecTV was awarded an exclusive contract.
    They black out the actual games though.....
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    I have had D*TV and EI since 1999, since the access issue won't affect me. However, I do see a price increase in the immediate future, because that's what happens when choice is limited and demand is high. I have a philosophical problem with all this.

    The thing that makes this especially slimy is that Liberty Media is in the middle of all this. They own the Atlanta Braves, plus they picked up Murdoch's share in D*TV a few weeks ago. So this is a convenient way to feather their own nest. Given how close a fraternity the MLB owners club is, I don't think we'll be seeing any opposition to this deal within the ranks.

    I would actually like to get Congress involved so they can finally strip Baseball of its antitrust exemption. This is a clear use of monopoly power to limit both competition and consumer access. It's un-American.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercub33
    MLB Extra Innings has zero appeal to me unless they carry the games in HD. this does give me yet another excuse for telling off the Comcast people when they contact me though.
    Why yell at Comcast? It's not their fault this is happening -- they don't want to lose access to EI.

    Quote Originally Posted by jackson_cannery
    Are any of you people who have it outside of the Detroit market? Is it worth the money?
    Absolutely -- not only for the 130 or so Tiger games you'll get, but also for all the interesting other games as well, particularly during September. Check your area for blackout restrictions, though.

    Quote Originally Posted by dt35456884
    At the very least, the Extra Innings package has been available on increasingly fewer platforms.
    I love the descriptor "increasingly fewer". Highly amusing!
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    Quote Originally Posted by chasfh
    Why yell at Comcast? It's not their fault this is happening -- they don't want to lose access to EI.
    I would not "yell" at Comcast. It would simply give me another reason to tell them why I choose not to give them my money - as if I need an actual reason.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercub33
    They black out the actual games though.....
    Really? I had no idea that this is the case. I stand corrected then.

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    Does anyone know if it will have an effect on MLB.TV? If it does, I won't be thrilled. I am a subscriber to MLB.TV because I work at nights so I watch the Twins from work on the office computer. I think it's disgusting that MLB is starting to follow the NFL. Good way to alienate the fans too. Most people can't get DirectTV especially if they live in apartments.

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    Quote Originally Posted by syrett4
    Where do you live that the Brewers and Tigers are in the same market?
    Southwest Michigan. I am actually closer to Milwaukee than Detroit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by diamondhead
    Southwest Michigan. I am actually closer to Milwaukee than Detroit.
    Wow, and they overlook the fact that there is a 60 mile wide lake between you and the market?
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    Quote Originally Posted by syrett4
    Wow, and they overlook the fact that there is a 60 mile wide lake between you and the market?
    It's 179 mile drive to Miller Park from my home. It's 195 miles to Comerica. My cable company recognizes Detroit as the market, thankfully. At least I can enjoy the Tigers on FSN.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson_cannery
    How many games of each team are shown per year on Extra Innings? Is it the same for every team?

    Are any of you people who have it outside of the Detroit market? Is it worth the money?
    I never answered these:
    I saw over 100 Tigers games last year on the Dish Network extra Innings package.

    I am in Seattle.

    It is worth every penny, and maybe worth even more, when combined with a DVR to tape all the games, so that I can watch them at my leisure.

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    Its worth every penny. Being in SoCal I must have my games. Guess its time to switch to DTV

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    Quote Originally Posted by dt35456884
    I was under the impression that Extra Innings was already exclusive to DirecTV last summer. Maybe I'm confused about that. At the very least, the Extra Innings package has been available on increasingly fewer platforms.

    I'm a DirecTV customer but I am considering ending my Extra Innings subscription after four years of having it.
    No, as of last season MLB Extra Innings was available on cable, as well as DirecTV. I received it through TimeWarner, although for part of the year last year, I also had it through DirecTV (when we moved to our new place in June, we could not get a clear signal from the satellite, so we went back to cable). I will be extremely dissatisfied, if this report is true.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madmanrick
    No, as of last season MLB Extra Innings was available on cable, as well as DirecTV. I received it through TimeWarner, although for part of the year last year, I also had it through DirecTV (when we moved to our new place in June, we could not get a clear signal from the satellite, so we went back to cable). I will be extremely dissatisfied, if this report is true.
    Just cut down some trees, or put your Dish on a bigger pole.
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    Quote Originally Posted by jackson_cannery
    How many games of each team are shown per year on Extra Innings? Is it the same for every team?

    Are any of you people who have it outside of the Detroit market? Is it worth the money?
    I don't know how they ration out the games, but I do know that a large portion of a particular teams games are available every year. I think around 120 games total for the Tigers last year. I was fairly disappointed however, as it seemed in Sept. that a larger number of games went unbroadcast on Extra Innings, then in the months prior. That was really disconcerting with the Tigs in the middle of a pennant race! We've subscribed to Extra Innings for 3 years now and we really enjoy it. My wife watches more of the games than I do (I work afternoons and she days), but we watch probably 75% of the available Tigers games and maybe 15% of the other games from time to time. If you figure out what it costs to actually attend a ballgame in person (and since we're in NYC, it would be even MORE money with travel expenses), we think it is absolutely worth it.
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    I was under the impression that every televised game was on Extra Innings, although sometimes it may not always be the correct feed (Detroit play KC and both teams have a broadcast, Det is at home, so you would think you would see Rod and Mario - but instead you see the KC guys).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zakk_Wylde
    Really? I had no idea that this is the case. I stand corrected then.
    Yes it is sadly true. I know through personal experience, as I thought when I first saw the Fox programming, "ooo, I can get all the Tigers games and for a fraction of the price of MLB EI?, I'm there!". When it came time for the first game, I got to watch Tigers weekly and the pregame show and then game time came and all I had was the black screen of death. I cancelled that crap the following Monday.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercub33
    Just cut down some trees, or put your Dish on a bigger pole.
    Actually, since we live in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) trees aren't the problem. It's the large 25 story condo building they are building across the street that is causing the problem and since I live in a 5 story condo building, what I really need is a spare blimp to hang the dish off of!
    "Our lives begin to end the moment we become silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tigercub33
    I was under the impression that every televised game was on Extra Innings, although sometimes it may not always be the correct feed (Detroit play KC and both teams have a broadcast, Det is at home, so you would think you would see Rod and Mario - but instead you see the KC guys).
    As was I, until I actually got the EI package. There are a few games every year that there is no home or away broadcast for, so EI can't rebroadcast them and they also just don't show some other games. I remember last Sept. that there were at least 2 weekends after Labor Day that there were NO Tigers games on EI and since it was in the middle of that gut-wrenching period for the Tigs, we were really po'ed! I'm pretty sure that they show around 120 games for each team (it may be a few more), but I am positive that they don't show every game.
    "Our lives begin to end the moment we become silent about things that matter" Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    RIP Ernie, you are always MY Tiger!

  40. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Madmanrick
    Actually, since we live in Williamsburg (Brooklyn) trees aren't the problem. It's the large 25 story condo building they are building across the street that is causing the problem and since I live in a 5 story condo building, what I really need is a spare blimp to hang the dish off of!
    Or you need to make friends with an arsonist...
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