"Cable subscribers will once again be able to watch out-of-market
Major League Baseball games, ending their fears that the Extra Innings
package would become the exclusive domain of DirecTV for the next seven
M.L.B. and InDemand — a
consortium that is owned by the cable operators Comcast, Time Warner
and Cox — agreed last night to restore Extra Innings swiftly to their
systems as a free preview through sometime next week, after which it
will cost a discounted $159 for a short period.
crucial part of the negotiations for baseball was InDemand’s agreement
to carry the MLB Channel, which is to make its debut in 2009.
Between the deals made with DirecTV and InDemand, baseball said the
channel will have 40 million subscribers when it starts. “We believe we
have a compelling product that our fans are passionate about,” Brosnan
Robert D. Jacobson, InDemand’s president, said: “We’re
very comfortable with the deal. We feel we were treated very fairly
related to DirecTV.”
The InDemand partnership received an equity
stake of a little below 20 percent in the MLB Channel, which is about
equal to DirecTV’s.
M.L.B. will receive an average of $100
million a year through 2013 for the Extra Innings rights from DirecTV
and cable operators. The size of their yearly payments will be reduced
if Dish negotiates its own deal.
Baseball will benefit further
from its majority share of the estimated $120 million in annual gross
subscriber fees that the channel will generate."
So …. is everyone happy?
1) MLB got a boatload of added revenue
2) MLB got its Baseball Channel on cable starting in ’09
3) Cable-based fans got EI back
I’m still not happy with MLB’s heavy-handedness of this whole event, but I’m thrilled to be able to watch out-of-market games when I want to on cable.