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Hearing Testimony Hits on MLB, DirecTV Deal PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 01 February 2007 10:40

Extra InningsAs noted yesterday, Senator John Kerry (D-MA) voiced concerns about the proposed deal to make MLB Extra Innings only available on DirecTV and said he would address it during a hearing today by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.

That hearing, entitled Assessing the Communications Marketplace: A View from the FCC took place, with the following comments regarding the proposed MLB Extra Innings deal with DirecTV in John Kerry's opening statements:

I am concerned about access to television programming.  I find disheartening the increasing phenomenon of exclusive carriage deals and vertical integration in the media industry that have one result – the business firms get wealthy and consumers have fewer choices – and fewer sports fans having access to their favorite teams. 

I understand Major League Baseball will soon cut an exclusive deal with DirecTV that will eliminate out-of-market baseball packages for Dish and Cable subscribers.  I hope I am wrong, because this is audacious move.  It will mean that out-of-market baseball fans that pay for a premium package to see their team will lose access to those games. 
 
That is wrong.  Major League Baseball and DirecTV need a reality check – more eyeballs, not fewer, on your games enhances your sport, strengthens fan loyalty and serves the public.  I am interested in the Chairman’s views about this.  I want to look at this entire picture – there are other practices in the industry that are equally disturbing.  We need to take a look at the carriage system to ensure consumers are protected and independent programming is supported. 
Watch the hearing in entirety here (Real Media format)
 
 
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