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MLB's Extra Innings

For those unaware, Major League Baseball has partnered with DirecTV to provide exclusive broadcasting rights to baseball's Extra Innings package.  This deal removes the package from the cable systems that currently offer it and has caused much teeth-gnashing amongst the disaffected cable subscribers.

My opinion is one of indifference.  In Westchester County, NY, I receive all the Yankees and Mets games along with the Braves on TBS and whatever ESPN and ESPN2 choose to air.  That is more than enough variety for me.

This morning's New York Daily News column by Bob Raisman offers some extra info on what transpired.  MLB is planning an all-baseball channel (The Baseball Channel) akin to the NFL Network, and, just as NFLN wanted, MLB wants cable operators to carry it on its basic tier.  Because the oligopolistic (at best!) cable company's would not agree to that, MLB went to DirecTV who said they would offer TBC.

Additionally, Mr. Raisman reports the cable consortium offered $70MM per year and non-exclusivity compared with DirecTV's $100MM per year and exclusivity.  Assuming MLB could get DirecTV to pay $30MM and one dollar per year, the deal could have worked in MLB's favor with two providers.  And no unhappy fans.

Whether Mr. Raisman's info is coming from disgruntled cable execs who have altered their bargaining position now that there is nothing to lose is a different issue.  Sort of like all the fantasy teams that claim they were offering better deals than the one the other team struck with a different owner.