Other cable providers can carry the "Extra Innings" package if they
enter into an agreement with MLB based on the terms agreed to by DirecTV, which would include the same rates and carriage requirements.Bud Selig -- displaying those superlative people skills for which he is reknown -- was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying the controversy over the deal is "ridiculous".
According to the Associated Press, however, the president of iN Demand, Robert Jacobson, said the agreement would be impossible for his company, calling it a "de facto exclusive deal."
Ridiculous. There are thousands of Red Sox fans outside of New England that, for whatever reason, cannot get DirecTV. They will not be able to watch their team this summer. And the commissioner of baseball thinks their concern about that is "ridiculous".
The Times also reported that
a recent counteroffer by In Demand — the cable pay package provider that shared the rights to Extra Innings for the last five seasons — plus one by satellite provider EchoStar, which owns Dish Network, "came too late in the game." ...We have MLB saying two things: any matching offers must be received by the end of March and a matching offer from early March came in "too late".
According to a company spokesperson, the In Demand offer matched or exceeded DirecTV's offer, including financial terms of the deal as well as distribution of the new Baseball Channel, scheduled to be launched in 2009. Distribution of this channel is believed to be the crux of the issue for MLB.
Robert Jacobson, president and chief executive of In Demand, said the proposed MLB deal "is stunning in its disregard for baseball fans."
Again, I have to ask: What is the REAL reason MLB is turning down more money while limiting the number of fans that can watch games?
Just got off the phone with MLB. The person listening to complaints confirmed that other cable companies do indeed have until the end of the month to match DirecTV's offer, but was "unaware" of the LA Times story mentioning the In Demand offer that was rejected as "too late".
Updated: Richard Sandomir's article in the New York Times mentions MLB is giving cable operators and Dish Network until March 31 to match the deal.
Baseball is trying to put [InDemand and Dish] on the defensive, telling them they can choose to be good guys or bad guys depending on their decisions. Baseball wants to shed the image that it was guilty of making Extra Innings less available to its fans, so it is bringing InDemand and Dish back for a final lightning round.I believe the deal also has to be approved by the owners, so pressure could be put on them as well.
And it wants Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, off its back, and the F.C.C., which is looking into the deal, to go away quickly.
This, quite clearly, is not over.