As we reported last week, some cable companies may look to offer deeply discounted or free subscriptions to MLB’s online offering for out-of-market games, MLB.TV. The move is in response to the deal that—short of intervention from the FCC or Congress—will place Extra Innings exclusively on DirecTV.
Today, Cox Communications becomes the first cable company to offer MLB.TV free to subscribers of Extra Innings last season via rebate. A special promotions page has been setup by Cox, and the disclaimer on the page reads in part, “Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., are not sponsors of Cox High Speed Internet service or this offer.”
In regards to bulk-buying MLB.TV by carriers, last week, an MLB official said “we will not allow any of our assets to be used to undermine this deal” through an effort such as bulk buying of MLB.TV subscriptions.
Cox is part of iN Demand, the group of cable providers that has been in negotiations with MLB to retain Extra Innings on cable and MLB has not publicly reacted to the promotion.
Earlier this month, Robert Jacobson, the president and CEO of iN Demand, set the stage by calling MLB’s agreement with DirecTV a "de facto exclusive deal."
Jacobson said the agreement contained "conditions for carriage that MLB and DirecTV designed to be impossible for cable and DISH to meet."