Tuesday, March 27, 2007

John Kerry Provides False Hope For Out-Of-Market Baseball Fans

Sen. John Kerry is again urging baseball to hold off on a deal to put the "Extra Innings" package of out-of-market games exclusively on DirecTV.

Sen. Arlen Specter (news, bio, voting record), R-Pa., who has been critical of the NFL's "Sunday Ticket" deal with DirecTV, also issued a warning to baseball.

"When fans react, Congress reacts," Specter said. "You may be well advised to act before we do."

Bob DuPuy, baseball's chief operating officer, says that fans who received the out-of-town games on iN Demand or Dish have the option of switching to DirecTV or subscribing to the package on MLB.com.

"This is not a matter of fans being unable to view Major League Baseball's out-of-market games," he said. "It is a matter of not being able to watch those games on a particular system."

"Extra Innings" had more than a half-million TV subscribers last year.

Obviously I'm an out-of-market Mets fan and I think it stinks for people who can't use the DirecTV system, but I really don't see how the government should be getting involved in this. Until Extra Innings was created, there was no way for out of market fans to watch the games. So just because technology allows it now, how can baseball be forced to offer this package to every provider?

MLB is selling a product. A customer comes to them and offers a deal to buy that product. Why should MLB have to sell the product to another customer for less? And I know that it's more complicated than that, but essentially if baseball doesn't want to give cable a deal, I don't think they should be forced to. Anyway, I also agree with MLB that if you can't or don't want to subscribe to DirecTV, MLB.tv is a viable option. And isn't that the wave of the future anyway?

I'll tell you what does bug me: that just because I want to watch Mets games, I have to buy a package that gives me virtually every game in every market, 90% of which I have no interest in? How about just letting me buy the rights to YES and SNY, including games? That's where baseball is just being greedy.

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