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Thread: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

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    Member Jpup's Avatar
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    The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...ea3ff91801e2fe

    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.
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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Oh boy. If this even comes close to being discussed, there are going to be tons of P.Oed fans.
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    He has the Evil Eye! flyer85's Avatar
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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.
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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.

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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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.
    /r/reds

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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Oh boy. If this even comes close to being discussed, there are going to be tons of P.Oed fans.

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    Your killin' me Smalls! StillFunkyB's Avatar
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Quote Originally Posted by Chip R View Post
    Oh boy. If this even comes close to being discussed, there are going to be tons of P.Oed fans.
    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.
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted View Post
    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.

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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Quote Originally Posted by BrooklynRedz View Post
    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?
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

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    post hype sleeper cincinnati chili's Avatar
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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.
    Last edited by cincinnati chili; 01-09-2007 at 12:10 AM. Reason: addendum
    How, then, are those people of the future—who are taking steroids every day—going to look back on baseball players who used steroids? They're going to look back on them as pioneers. They're going to look back at it and say "So what?" - Bill James, Cooperstown and the 'Roids

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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnati chili View Post
    Major League Baseball is not your friend.
    Is it supposed to be? I thought it was a business.

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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    Quote Originally Posted by cincinnati chili View Post
    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?
    Burn down the disco. Hang the blessed DJ. Because the music that he constantly plays, it says nothing to me about my life.

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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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.
    "Don't trust any statistics you did not fake yourself."--Winston Churchill

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    Rally Onion! Chip R's Avatar
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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?
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    Unsolicited Opinions traderumor's Avatar
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    Re: The Monopolizing of MLB's Extra Innings Package

    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?


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