MLB’s Executive Vice President of Business, Tim Brosnan, responds to the outcry over the soon-to-be-announced move of Extra Innings to DirecTV.
(excerpts … with my comments bolded)
offer the following assurances to our fans: Any deal for the Major
League Baseball’s Extra Innings subscription package, when concluded,
will in no way affect a single fan’s ability to watch games of his home
club in his home market."
But it WILL impact the fan’s ability to watch games of his/her favorite club (which might be in a different city) in his/her home market. I happen to live in NY, but I LIKE watching the Indians … and the Brewers … and the Phillies. A LOT!
"Major League Baseball will continue to make
available on basic cable, satellite and broadcast television more games
by far than any other sport (on average, more than 400 games per year
are telecast in each market);"
Let’s do some math …. 162 games * 30 teams / 2 teams per game = 2430 possible games. You are therefore offering 1/6th of the total universe of games. The NFL offers 4 games per week on basic cable or major network (out of a possible 16 games). They therefore offer 1/4th of their total universe of games. What am I missing (I mean, BESIDES the 60 games a week on Extra Innings)?
a subscription package of out-of-market
games will continue to be available to a broad segment of our fan base
through either MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV, its broadband counterpart.
DirecTV is available to approximately 1/5th of the total customers who currently have cable. How is THAT a BROAD SEGMENT? And as far as MLB.TV goes …. well, I can’t gather my friends around my 19" monitor to watch the game (without turning my study into some "Twister"-like game). And after spending all day in front of a PC at work, why would I want to hunch over one to watch the games at night?
has consistently sought to do the best job possible of marketing the
game to our fans.
Averting the eyes to the steroids elephant in the room in the 90s …. few daytime playoff games …. no daytime World Series games (why do you think kids aren’t playing baseball or going to games anymore?) …. the stupid broadcast blackout rule … etc etc …. this statement is so laughable ….. oy!
Through the ballpark experience, TV, radio, satellite
radio, broadband and the Internet, wireless, licensed products and
sponsor marketing initiatives, we look to meet the demands of our fans
in as many ways as possible for one simple reason: It’s good business.
We always act according to our belief that if we do what we think is in
the fans’ best interests, our business will benefit. And, guided by
that principle, we have achieved record success in the past five years.
Translation …. we’ve gotten rich off of the billion-dollar TV/cable contracts, and will continue to milk every penny we can, even if it shuts out 80% of the most diehard fans (the ones that bought Extra Innings on cable).
We have had fair and open negotiations with cable, satellite and
telephone company distributors regarding the distribution of a new MLB
dedicated channel to all our fans and the continuation of the MLB Extra
Innings package. We believe that the launch of an MLB-dedicated channel
as part of a basic service will be a great benefit to all of our fans,
as it will provide a wide diversity of baseball programming, 24/7. Our
goal remains to provide as much MLB programming as we can to the
maximum number of viewers, and any consummated deal will reflect that.
So why couldn’t you have done the Baseball Channel deal with DirecTV, while keeping Extra Innings on cable? Why couldn’t you have offered a non-exclusive deal for Extra Innings to both DirecTV and cable. Oh … that’s right …. $30 million per year extra, and that all-important Baseball Channel. You aren’t diversifying …. you are LIMITING the audience ….
(My thanks to Red Sox Chick for the private heads-up on this bit of news.)