MLB met Friday with executives from In Demand Networks to try to strike a deal for distribution of MLB's Extra Innings live-game package on cable systems. ...In a blog post, Umstead states that the
The catch: Cable and Dish have to [place] the games on the operators' most widely available tier of programming and taking a stake in the league's baseball network when it launches in 2009. ...
While the industry is willing to match DirecTV's price for Extra Innings, it wants to offer the new baseball channel on a premium sports tier rather than part of its basic digital offering. Cable-operator executives close to the negotiations said MLB spurned the industry's guarantee to more than match DirecTV's 15 million-subscriber commitment by the time the network launches.
"Major League Baseball has chosen to cut a de facto exclusive deal -- including conditions for carriage that MLB and DirecTV designed to be impossible for cable and Dish to meet -- with one satellite operator and disenfranchise baseball fans in the 75 million multichannel households who do not subscribe to DirecTV," In Demand CEO Robert Jacobson said in a prepared statement.
whole dustup between baseball and cable boils down to the same simple issue that has plagued negotiations between content distributors and cable operators since the first cable lines were rolled out into the home more than two decades ago. Baseball wants to secure distribution on the basic analog tier for its soon-to-be-launched 24-hour channel.
And cable operators said no.
DirecTV purchased a minority interest in the Baseball Channel -- which is expected to offer vintage games, as well as live games -- and will put that network on a tier that reaches all of its 15 million subscribers. Cable has already countered by saying that it would guarantee that the baseball network would be in front of at least 15 million subscribers via $5-per-month sports tiers.
But baseball wants basic carriage from cable. The industry said it would not open an analog slot for The Baseball Channel.