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Jpup
01-08-2007, 04:32 PM
http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=5796&PHPSESSID=413b66137f120f57e6ea3ff91801e2fe


The Ledger Domain
The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

by Maury Brown

Last summer, I wrote in Blackout Blues how MLB’s arcane territorial television broadcast system restricts consumer options for those that wish to see MLB games out-of-market through MLB.com or MLB Extra Innings. Now, MLB may be creating even more restraints on consumers.

John Orerand and Eric Fisher of the Sports Business Journal have reported that MLB is in advanced talks with DirecTV to make the satellite television company the exclusive provider of MLB Extra Innings. While Extra Innings was initially only offered on DirecTV in 1996, the package has been available on cable since 2001, and on Dish Network since 2004.

If the deal is approved, it is sure to raise the ire of cable interests like Comcast. In fact, the move would seem to be a game of high-stakes poker for MLB, considering that members of Congress and the NFL have been sparring over the latter's decision to use DirecTV as the exclusive provider of the Sunday Ticket package.

In early December, Senator Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) introduced a bill that would repeal the NFL's antitrust exemption under the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961. Currently, the NFL negotiates the broadcast rights for all of its 32 teams. Specter’s bill would repeal that ability and set up a scenario in which teams would negotiate television deals separately. "As I look at what the NFL is doing today with the NFL channel with the DirecTV ... a lot of people, including myself, would like to be able to have that ticket," Specter said. How Specter factors into the MLB deal with DirecTV has more to do with just his interest in protecting consumers. As noted, Specter is a senator from Pennsylvania. Comcast is headquartered in Philadelphia, and owns In Demand, the company that provides MLB Extra Innings on cable.

Specter's ability to strike fear in the NFL or MLB has lessened since November. Specter was the Senate Judiciary Chairman, but with control of Congress shifting to the Democrats this month, Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) takes control as chairman of the committee. While Specter is no longer chair, however, he still wields considerable power in Congress, and Leahy hasn't exactly been in MLB’s corner in the past. Leahy helped narrow the scope of baseball's antitrust exemption during the 2002 Congressional hearings on the exemption, saying in his opening statement at the time,

Between the narrowness of the way the Supreme Court had perpetuated baseball’s antitrust exemption-- only as it applied to labor-management relations-- and our work in the Congress, in which we struck the last remaining remnant of the judicially-created exception to the applicability of the antitrust laws, it seems that there is no longer any basis to contend that a general, free-floating baseball antitrust exemption somehow continues to exist.

Chip R
01-08-2007, 04:58 PM
Oh boy. If this even comes close to being discussed, there are going to be tons of P.Oed fans. :eek:

flyer85
01-08-2007, 05:17 PM
with only 750K of subscribers I can't imagine why it would be worth much a premium to Directv. I mean it would hard to imagine it could pull more than 100K in new subscribers.

I have gotten MLB EI in the past but with the Reds carrying 145 games I was going to cancel for this season.

Gainesville Red
01-08-2007, 06:46 PM
If this comes to pass it's possible I may become mad enough to hulk-out and launch an attack on New York City. Hope Spiderman or the X-men or someone is be strong enough to calm me down before I do too much damage.

Unassisted
01-08-2007, 07:55 PM
MLB's probably thinking this move would drive more customers to MLB.TV and that's revenue they don't have to share with a provider. I don't think the average fan would consider MLB.TV to be a good alternative to watching MLBEI on cable. (I do, but I'm tech-savvy and a cheapskate. ;) )

I guess a short-sighted, ham-handed approach to this would be fitting, considering that's the kind of thinking that probably led to the current blackout rules.

edabbs44
01-08-2007, 10:29 PM
Oh boy. If this even comes close to being discussed, there are going to be tons of P.Oed fans. :eek:

http://www.nikwheeler.com/gallery_images/children/raise_hand.jpg

StillFunkyB
01-08-2007, 10:34 PM
Oh boy. If this even comes close to being discussed, there are going to be tons of P.Oed fans. :eek:

It boils my blood just thinking about it.

I'm not kidding, just reading the first part of that article made me extremely angry.

I know a couple of people that gave up on MLB years ago, and slowly I am starting to see why. I love this game, but MLB makes it VERY DIFFICULT to be a fan.

BrooklynRedz
01-08-2007, 10:58 PM
MLB's probably thinking this move would drive more customers to MLB.TV and that's revenue they don't have to share with a provider. I don't think the average fan would consider MLB.TV to be a good alternative to watching MLBEI on cable. (I do, but I'm tech-savvy and a cheapskate. ;) )

I guess a short-sighted, ham-handed approach to this would be fitting, considering that's the kind of thinking that probably led to the current blackout rules.

Yep. Although, it's not as short-sighted as it might seem. Due to the CBA, all revenues from such digital sources as MLB.TV is split evenly among the 30 teams. And with cutting out the cable providers, there's more of the pie to spread among the teams.

Also, the blackout rules are in the process of being redetermined. There's still much hope it can get through legal before opening day.

Yachtzee
01-09-2007, 12:35 AM
Yep. Although, it's not as short-sighted as it might seem. Due to the CBA, all revenues from such digital sources as MLB.TV is split evenly among the 30 teams. And with cutting out the cable providers, there's more of the pie to spread among the teams.

Also, the blackout rules are in the process of being redetermined. There's still much hope it can get through legal before opening day.

Seems logical, but is it wise? I have DirectTV, so it won't affect me much, but it just seems silly to restrict such a marketable item to a limited market, especially when not everyone can get satellite TV. If you don't have a clear view to the southwest, you're out of luck even if you want DirectTV. Add to that the noises being made in Congress over the NFL's agreement with DirectTV on Sunday Ticket. MLB isn't exactly on good terms with Congress as it is.

Will this really help create long term increase in revenue?

cincinnati chili
01-09-2007, 01:08 AM
Major League Baseball is not your friend.

And one more thing. I discourage everyone from purchasing MLB TV or conducting any business whatsoever with MLB Advanced Media. As I've discussed on this board before, once they get your credit card number they'll autorenew you 'till the cows come home.

And when they do, good luck getting a human being on the telephone.

BrooklynRedz
01-09-2007, 01:09 AM
Major League Baseball is not your friend.

Is it supposed to be? I thought it was a business.

Yachtzee
01-09-2007, 01:19 AM
Major League Baseball is not your friend.

And one more thing. I discourage everyone from purchasing MLB TV or conducting any business whatsoever with MLB Advanced Media. As I've discussed on this board before, once they get your credit card number they'll autorenew you 'till the cows come home.

And when they do, good luck getting a human being on the telephone.

Isn't that the M.O. of most online service providers? I've dealt with the same thing trying to get rid of AOL and MSN and it took threats of letters to the state AG to get them to do anything. Why trap people in and force them to remain your customer? How about offering a good service for an affordable price?

Wheelhouse
01-09-2007, 01:26 AM
They basically would be shutting out thousands of potential customers who simply cannot get Direct TV. My building does not allow satellite antennae at all. If this happens, we need to get on our congressmen to take away MLB's anti-trust exeption. They have it only because the game is deemed to be "the national pastime." If that's so, MLB is not just a business, but has a responsibility to the people. But if MLB wants to strictly be a business, and behave that way, fine, but we should take away their legal goodies and make them follow the law like a regular business.

Chip R
01-09-2007, 01:33 AM
I have DirecTV too and I'm very happy with it. But I hate to see them monopolize MLB games.

Lost in this is that if this goes through, MLB TV has no reason to improve their product. I've not experienced it but I have read people who haven't been happy with the quality of it. If you don't get DirecTV, that's your only option so what incentive is there to make it better?

traderumor
01-09-2007, 02:17 AM
I do not understand the logic behind restricting access to televised sporting events when it is clear that more TV INCREASES attendance and brings more money in through deals with networks. It has proven impossible to saturate us with sports. Heck, they're even getting viewership with female sports now. The Free Agent spending now is in part due to a new, lucrative network contract. The more people they expose, the more people that become addicted to their product. What am I missing?

Jpup
01-09-2007, 03:05 AM
Yep. Although, it's not as short-sighted as it might seem. Due to the CBA, all revenues from such digital sources as MLB.TV is split evenly among the 30 teams. And with cutting out the cable providers, there's more of the pie to spread among the teams.

Also, the blackout rules are in the process of being redetermined. There's still much hope it can get through legal before opening day.

any idea what could be changing?

Reds Fanatic
01-09-2007, 12:39 PM
I have heard baseball wants to do this because they are not happy with the number of people that have signed up for the package through the cable companies and they want the guaranteed money Directv would pay for exclusive rights. What baseball doesn't get is if they just got rid of the stupid blackout rules they would get the subscribers they want. There are a lot of people that won't sign up because they are blacked out of the team they want to see or several different teams. I do subscribe to EI through cable but I still hate the blackout rules. I am blacked on 3 different teams. 2 of which we don't get their games on TV and we live several hours away from.

Yachtzee
01-09-2007, 05:36 PM
I have heard baseball wants to do this because they are not happy with the number of people that have signed up for the package through the cable companies and they want the guaranteed money Directv would pay for exclusive rights. What baseball doesn't get is if they just got rid of the stupid blackout rules they would get the subscribers they want. There are a lot of people that won't sign up because they are blacked out of the team they want to see or several different teams. I do subscribe to EI through cable but I still hate the blackout rules. I am blacked on 3 different teams. 2 of which we don't get their games on TV and we live several hours away from.

I always thought they should let fans buy a subscription to watch the games of their favorite team, but then I realized that there would be a lot of squabbling if the Yankees were getting a ton of subscribers and still had to split the EI revenue evenly. I would agree that the blackout rules probably hinder the marketability of the EI package.

Coffeybro
01-09-2007, 05:44 PM
OK this would royally suck for me. I just got Dish HD and had to sign an 18 month contract. The only reason I even have Dish to begin with was it was cheaper and I wanted Extra Innings.

pedro
01-10-2007, 02:20 AM
This would royally piss me off and you can bet I won't switch to Direct TV to get it. F them.

Doc. Scott
01-10-2007, 03:46 AM
Major League Baseball is not your friend.

And one more thing. I discourage everyone from purchasing MLB TV or conducting any business whatsoever with MLB Advanced Media. As I've discussed on this board before, once they get your credit card number they'll autorenew you 'till the cows come home.

And when they do, good luck getting a human being on the telephone.

In the interest of fairness, I've subscribed and cancelled twice with no trouble. Although I have heard of stories like CC's in addition of his own.

registerthis
01-10-2007, 04:57 PM
There is a large tree in our backyard that prohibits us from getting Direct TV--and I know for a fact that we are far from alone in this predicament. So, if MLB did this, I'd be S.O.L. out here.

But it wouldn't surprise me at all. MLB has become remarkably adept at putting forth idea after idea to alienate fans.

Chip R
01-10-2007, 07:48 PM
There is a large tree in our backyard that prohibits us from getting Direct TV--and I know for a fact that we are far from alone in this predicament. So, if MLB did this, I'd be S.O.L. out here.


What, you can't cut down your tree? ;)


But it wouldn't surprise me at all. MLB has become remarkably adept at putting forth idea after idea to alienate fans.


Just part of their anti-marketing program. :rolleyes:

cincinnati chili
01-12-2007, 12:00 AM
In the interest of fairness, I've subscribed and cancelled twice with no trouble. Although I have heard of stories like CC's in addition of his own.

It was a widespread problem about a year ago. I posted links to various discussion forums and blogs about it last summer.

However, a member of this board who works for MLB assured me that they've really cleaned things up since then. Maybe they have.

To clarify, they autorenewed my credit card in '06. When I realized that they had done so, I called and asked for a refund (after spending hours and hours and hours on hold).

The person on the phone said he'd look into it, but couldn't promise anything, even though I had never used the service in '06.

Once I heard that I got on the phone with my credit card company, which did an investigation and then reversed the charges.

RBA
05-10-2013, 02:21 PM
If you were a MLB.tv subscriber prior to this year and you did not renewal. You may be able to sign up for MLB.tv for 56.99 today:

http://slickdeals.net/f/6020884-MLB-TV-Premium-56-99-for-the-remainder-of-the-season?

_Sir_Charles_
05-10-2013, 03:13 PM
Major League Baseball is not your friend.

And one more thing. I discourage everyone from purchasing MLB TV or conducting any business whatsoever with MLB Advanced Media. As I've discussed on this board before, once they get your credit card number they'll autorenew you 'till the cows come home.

And when they do, good luck getting a human being on the telephone.


Sorry to hear that. I had a different experience though. After the season ended (2 years ago) I cancelled my mlb audio account. Went through, no muss, no fuss.

TSJ55
05-10-2013, 03:19 PM
Chalk another one up for cancelling cable across the board.

cumberlandreds
05-10-2013, 03:20 PM
Sorry to hear that. I had a different experience though. After the season ended (2 years ago) I cancelled my mlb audio account. Went through, no muss, no fuss.

I canceled my audio version one year via the phone without a problem either. I think they are better than they used to be to find someone to actually talk to.
They do say in their terms and conditions that it will auto renew unless you tell them not to that.

dougdirt
05-10-2013, 03:20 PM
Sorry to hear that. I had a different experience though. After the season ended (2 years ago) I cancelled my mlb audio account. Went through, no muss, no fuss.

All but the most recent three posts are from 6 years ago....

cumberlandreds
05-10-2013, 03:21 PM
Chalk another one up for cancelling cable across the board.

I'm coming closer and closer to pulling the plug on satellite. Me or my wife don't watch that much TV anymore. In fact I just downgraded my package the other night. It's probably the first step towards no satellite or cable.

_Sir_Charles_
05-10-2013, 03:29 PM
All but the most recent three posts are from 6 years ago....

Oh dear god. I didn't even notice. LOL.

JaxRed
05-10-2013, 03:43 PM
Subscribed today for $56.99 thanks

cumberlandreds
05-10-2013, 03:45 PM
Subscribed today for $56.99 thanks

That's a really good deal. ANyone that is considering purchasing this should do it. I got it last year for the last month of the season for $10. I kept it this year and haven't regretted a moment to this point.

Brutus
05-10-2013, 04:11 PM
Sorry to hear that. I had a different experience though. After the season ended (2 years ago) I cancelled my mlb audio account. Went through, no muss, no fuss.

I also twice had no problems cancelling. Smooth as could be.

reds1869
05-10-2013, 04:22 PM
If you want to sign up for MLB.tv without auto renewal, purchase it through the mlb.com shop instead of directly through mlb.tv. Works like a charm and you only have to wait a little while to activate.

TSJ55
05-10-2013, 04:33 PM
All but the most recent three posts are from 6 years ago....

Ha! I didn't realize it was a zombie thread either. Leave it to Doug to pay attention and call out the fine details.

RedsfaninMT
05-10-2013, 04:37 PM
I read that first post without noticing the date and was thinking, BUNK! Alan Specter isn't a Senator anymore and he died a few years ago.

Oops!

Red in Atl
05-10-2013, 07:13 PM
The whole thing p's me off to no end. I live in Atlanta. I'm a Reds fan. I only want to watch my team.

So why can't I do that? Well right now the EIP is out of my price range due to my employment situation. Or lack of to put it more precisely. But as soon as I have a job, I'd buy the package.

But why? No HD games. They promise it every year, and I get none. Maybe a few this year, as I see they finally designated one channel to an HD game a day.

Now this?

It's no different than having hundreds of channels when I only watch about 15 total. I want to choose my programming. End of story. It's a total waste of space. Give me my 15 channels and my Reds games and the rest of TV can go away.

dougdirt
05-10-2013, 07:44 PM
The whole thing p's me off to no end. I live in Atlanta. I'm a Reds fan. I only want to watch my team.

So why can't I do that? Well right now the EIP is out of my price range due to my employment situation. Or lack of to put it more precisely. But as soon as I have a job, I'd buy the package.

But why? No HD games. They promise it every year, and I get none. Maybe a few this year, as I see they finally designated one channel to an HD game a day.

Now this?

It's no different than having hundreds of channels when I only watch about 15 total. I want to choose my programming. End of story. It's a total waste of space. Give me my 15 channels and my Reds games and the rest of TV can go away.

You can't get games in HD? Everyone else seems to be able to.

bubbachunk
05-10-2013, 07:46 PM
I get annoyed that I can't buy mlb tv and watch games in Cincy. I don't want cable or satellite, I am just fine without them.

RBA
05-10-2013, 07:49 PM
I get annoyed that I can't buy mlb tv and watch games in Cincy. I don't want cable or satellite, I am just fine without them.

You can watch games in Cincy. You just cannot watch the Reds. :eek:

scott91575
05-10-2013, 07:56 PM
This sort of applies here, and not sure if this has been posted...John McCain introduced a bill to the Senate that would prevent mandatory bundling and, more importantly for Cincinnati fans, prevent blackouts from publicly funded stadiums.

http://deadspin.com/john-mccain-introduces-bill-that-would-ban-sports-tv-bl-498949395

Red Raindog
05-10-2013, 07:57 PM
Sorry to hear that. I had a different experience though. After the season ended (2 years ago) I cancelled my mlb audio account. Went through, no muss, no fuss.

I've never had them auto renew me either ---
odd

bubbachunk
05-10-2013, 08:05 PM
You can watch games in Cincy. You just cannot watch the Reds. :eek:

Exactly, which is anti capitalism. The product offered by cable and direct tv is not good so I won't pay for it but can't get the good product because the league has deals worked out to black out the games. That or I can spend extra money to hide my ip and say it is in Canada....

Brutus
05-10-2013, 08:53 PM
It's actually ironic this thread got bumped. There's new legislation proposed in congress aimed at the broadcasting industry that would force cable operators to offer a la carte programming to those who want it. Of course, that would drive up the price of each channel if sold separately.

But relevant to this topic, the bill reportedly includes language that would put an end to sports blackout restrictions entirely.

RBA
05-10-2013, 10:54 PM
Alacarte is going nowhere. I like the idea, but the 'money'(media corporations) will never allow it.

Brutus
05-11-2013, 09:27 PM
Alacarte is going nowhere. I like the idea, but the 'money'(media corporations) will never allow it.

If the legislators pass this bill, they have no choice.

jmcclain19
05-13-2013, 01:27 AM
The market is taking care of the a la carte situation on its on. it'll only take someone - a big power like HBO tipping the cart, and they are already doing that in Europe.

As far as the baseball extra innings goes - I love Sen. McCain's bill. Say what you want about his politics, his forays into sports legislation seems to push things that otherwise wouldn't have happened.

Brutus
05-13-2013, 04:07 PM
The market is taking care of the a la carte situation on its on. it'll only take someone - a big power like HBO tipping the cart, and they are already doing that in Europe.

As far as the baseball extra innings goes - I love Sen. McCain's bill. Say what you want about his politics, his forays into sports legislation seems to push things that otherwise wouldn't have happened.

Philosophically speaking, I despise the government getting involved in the markets. Companies should be free to offer the products they want to offer, just as we should have the ability to choose what to purchase. So from that standpoint, I hate this bill, not because I don't like what it would do but I don't care for the government legislating these things.

That said, the anti-trust exemptions are the only things allowing baseball and football to do some of the things they've been doing, so they should be reigned in a bit if they take advantage of their exemptions at the expense of the consumer. At least, inasmuch as no other company would be able to do so within the context of the law.

I do love the idea of a la carte in a vacuum, but I also realize the price per channel will skyrocket if that happens. Instead of paying $1 a month per channel as we currently do in a cable package, we'd be likely looking at $5-10 a month (or more in select cases) a la carte. The truth is we'll likely end up paying just as much for 10-20 stations as we do now for 75-100.

krm1580
05-13-2013, 11:31 PM
With a la carte I would say be very careful what you wish for. People look at it in a vacuum and think if they currently get 100 channels for $100 its only going to $10 for the 10 channels they want. Its not.

Take something like ESPN. Right now ESPN is the most viewed cable channel and it fetches the highest per subscriber fee at better than $5 a head. If you have a cable company with 10 million subscribers they are forking over 50 million per year to ESPN to broadcast them. If you go a la cart and get an 80% take rate now they are only getting 40 million from the same cable company so they start charging $7 per head to make up the difference. No big deal right, nobody is crying over $2 per month right?

ESPN2 is normally a package deal with ESPN its not as popular so it does not carry the $5 premium that ESPN costs. Lets say it costs $2, a cable company is paying 20 million. What happens when the take rate is 50% for ESPN2? They need to fill a 10 million dollar gap in revenues. Guess where it comes from? A combination of higher ESPN and ESPN2. Now start running that down the list with ESPN3 or ESPN Desportes. Niche channels like MLB Network or SciFi are going to have to charge a lot more per subscriber to stay afloat.

The other thing to remember is these guys are in the business to make money and they will figure out a way to make money. ESPN2 isn't very popular, hey guess what, Monday Night football just moved to ESPN 2 and now its $10 per month just like ESPN.

I hate the current model where I am forced to pay for a host of channels I don't want, but I think with ala carte I will end up paying pretty close to the same amount of money.

fearofpopvol1
05-14-2013, 01:03 PM
With a la carte I would say be very careful what you wish for. People look at it in a vacuum and think if they currently get 100 channels for $100 its only going to $10 for the 10 channels they want. Its not.

Take something like ESPN. Right now ESPN is the most viewed cable channel and it fetches the highest per subscriber fee at better than $5 a head. If you have a cable company with 10 million subscribers they are forking over 50 million per year to ESPN to broadcast them. If you go a la cart and get an 80% take rate now they are only getting 40 million from the same cable company so they start charging $7 per head to make up the difference. No big deal right, nobody is crying over $2 per month right?

ESPN2 is normally a package deal with ESPN its not as popular so it does not carry the $5 premium that ESPN costs. Lets say it costs $2, a cable company is paying 20 million. What happens when the take rate is 50% for ESPN2? They need to fill a 10 million dollar gap in revenues. Guess where it comes from? A combination of higher ESPN and ESPN2. Now start running that down the list with ESPN3 or ESPN Desportes. Niche channels like MLB Network or SciFi are going to have to charge a lot more per subscriber to stay afloat.

The other thing to remember is these guys are in the business to make money and they will figure out a way to make money. ESPN2 isn't very popular, hey guess what, Monday Night football just moved to ESPN 2 and now its $10 per month just like ESPN.

I hate the current model where I am forced to pay for a host of channels I don't want, but I think with ala carte I will end up paying pretty close to the same amount of money.

I think you are mostly right, but ESPN is an extreme example. They by far and away get the highest figure per household. I would agree that those who subscribe to ESPN in an a la carte model would be punished the most.

Additionally, I think the whole model of cable TV will change soon. More people now than ever are fleeing because the prices have gotten so out of hand and there are other options out there. Everybody wants more money and at some point, something's going to give.