order clomid online no prescription with a echeck albenza online overnight best non prescription cialis dostinex side effects heart zyloprim order online getting pregnant while on antibiotics and the pill ramipril spc indian methotrexate tetracycline 250 mg tablets buy eulexin online with mastercard wellbutrin sr shipping overseas buy kamagra soft usa imiquimod side effects skin cancer generic drug for nexium purchase sominex online allegra hicks calcium carbonate in the uk low cost quibron-t florinef generic reviews aricept 20 mg daily buy generic viagra canada comprar zoloft original decadron no prescription needed is there a generic lipitor drug chloromycetin eye drops for children buy cheap meds india is lisinopril generic for cozaar cialis 20mg tablets information generic singulair reviews canadian alliance for community service learning website csl does lisinopril 20 mg tablets look like buy emsam paypal zofran online pharmacy prednisone generic canada bupropion hcl xl 300 mg weight loss single dose cipro for traveler;s diarrhea order bactrim medication by mail get xalatan toronto sertraline withdrawal nhs medicine doxycycline hyclate cheap antivert buy online deltasone women buy what are the side effects of proventil hfa buy advair diskus 250 50 fluticasone what is venlor for buy rosuvastatin 100 buy nizagara fast shipping can you get high off aspirin yahoo vipps certified online pharmacy doxycycline hyclate 100mg how to use xeloda online meds viagra for sale without prescription evecare legal in england buy oxytrol online overnight toprol xl discount medications buy sustiva pills online crestor commercial beach cafergot without prescription generic bactrim canada metronidazole wikipedia generic calcium carbonate switzerland sumycin mg buy fincar for men in usa zyprexa next day aceon suppliers overseas atacand witout a script stromectol on line purchase order voltaren medication by mail aqua card online banking generic aspirin us lipitor online bestellen chloroquine online overnight shipping mail order generic olanzapine cost of tamoxifen in the uk where do i valtrex in usa where can i buy baby alligators coversyl plus blood pressure medication combination voltaren gel patient reviews i pill celexa website medwatch event reporting eulexin tablets price billig beconase aq online kaufen over counter deltasone premarin generic equivalent dulcolax over the couter buy prednisone astrailia cheap acivir pills view topic prescription clomid for men side effects cycle pode beber e usar viagra brand levitra medication imuran lawsuit canada levitra drugs for sale buy micronase 20 tamsulosin 0.4mg tab order premarin online australia dulcolax shoppers drug mart social anxiety treatment order retin a micro online erythromycin prescription online spironolactone torsemide tablets shuddha guggulu no prescription buy periactin online without prescription do i need a prescription for starlix buy bupropion 50 bactroban online no prescription aciclovir medication order voltaren pain medication zerit over the couter diclofenac sodium and paracetamol and chlorzoxazone price viagra cyprus costco pharmacy dulcolax price research chemicals usa viagra sales south africa letrozole bodybuilding side effects legal to buy kamagra without a script cheap prescription compazine avapro drug class how much codeine cough syrup to get high buy amitriptyline with paypal is mail order fosamax safe Purchase accutane 200 mg actos birth control online us tulasi online legally buy fml forte online pharmacy buy paroxetine in india online sheep accutane order growing amaryllis in south florida crestor next day delivery very cheap snovitra super power accutane in canada buy lithium 5 mg vpxl usa sale canadian alliance of physiotherapy reg how much does a pint of promethazine cost very cheap zoloft order clomid online canada metoclopramide plasil mechanism of action best cialis professional prices 20mg pill dostinex generic dosage prope unesp br pibic index buy orlistat from cananda seroquel price australia amoxil canada prescription buy codeine cough syrup uk buy phenamax paypal difference between differin cream or gel entocort crohn;s disease buy diflucan online diflucan purchase augmentin online cipralex cost uk what does neurontin contain buy lotrisone tablets actonel where to get herbal blue pill uk alesse reviews side effects to buy levaquin in uk buy viagra sublingual pills online what is ginseng for in energy drinks cheap abilify 3mg online health canada lipitor recall claritin australia price how much does mircette cost buy viagra boots uk how to use glucophage to lose weight risperdal overnight shipping cheap long term effects prednisone use prescriptions cheap vermox online free coupon for famvir order tinidazole from best uk drugstore makeup bystolic on line purchase buying viagra in canada over the counter levitra professional generic canada rosuvastatin 100mg cheep is nexium over the counter in canada cheap altace uk ramipril drug over the counter nitroglycerin tablets voltaren pills 75mg proscar online+without prescription buy medrol online india thalidomide artist cvs natural water pills benicar pharmacy albendazole no prescription needed online pharmacy non persciption exelon venta finasteride colombia phone in order for bupropion purchase lozol online can you get high off zocor buy lozol capsules amoxil coupons online premarin india ginseng indiano solgar requip sales 2009 buy tadalis sx in uk order valtrex online australia does 25mg viagra work pilex tablets from himalaya pharmaceuticals aspirin medication classification risperdal now co uk cost of 100 mg viagra cheapest acticin proscar buy india is generic prilosec effective manchester united supporters club canada promethazine hydrochloride 25 mg sleep paxil lawsuit withdrawal online pharmacy uk omnicef rocaltrol order by phone brand amoxil online in us vasotec 10 mg side effects prilosec ingredients gluten diclofenac gel order online order generic phexin zithromax online prescription does levitra work for premature ejaculation cardizem 100mg buy amantadine in croatia cardizem india companies only finast lawsuit settlements cephalexin 500mg how long to take buy metformin 20 viramune pills avapro online order lloyds pharmacy shop locator furosemide fast canada nizoral shampoo 100 ml ???? floxin new zealand canadian pharmacy internet online drugstore purchase ventolin in uk one stop medical pharmacy hyaluronic acid pills for lips pharmacist to give crestor without prescription where van i get diflucan online will clomid prevent miscarriage side effects of prednisone in dogs hair loss buy brand name zoloft flomax shoppers drug mart glycomet express canada us pharmacies online that sell ceftin olanzapine no prescription canada side effects of entocort capsules generic version pulmicort respules augmentin duo dosage why has atrovent been discontinued can you buy clonidine online cheapest order tadalis sx buy abilify 25 mg plavix over counter speman pill shortage buying reglan from canada no prescription pharmacy drugstore meds technologies new alliance city mop what does strattera do if you don;t have add cialis online pharmacy emsam in canada isoptin online zovirax drug in uk pharmacy buy renagel with paypal discount pharmacy canberra woden brand acticin buy benicar hct and cold medicine celexa in the uk what is the correct dosage of keftab generic drug for risperdal buy proscar online at canada pharmacy altace new zealand vitamin shoppe locations order haridra online bactroban nasal mupirocin calcium ointment 2 lov cost estrace buy fincar from mexico online flomax relief buy levitra professional patch top 10 online urispas sites aclu support citizens united where purchase lasuna side effects flagyl used dogs best online pharmacy generic v-gel viagra plus without prescriptions purchasing forzest online emsam patch cheap xenical online prices the cheapest price for cialis 20mil how long does it take for anafranil to work am i taking too much thyroid medication discount pharmacy gowrie trading hours propecia results months where to purchase cortisone injections uroxatral dosage 20 mg rumalaya legal us zofran better than promethazine what does ventolin hfa treat suhagra australia ajanta pharma kandivali address nizoral 2 australia benicar sales 2008 generic levitra 20mg 10 pills atrovent inhaler usage epivir-hbv sale generic levitra dapoxetine female cialis on line no script comprar phenamax original difference between minocycline doxycycline acne indocin online from usa bupropion hcl missed dose current price levitra super active moduretic comprar capoten cost canadian zyvox drug schedule yasmin uk next day delivery better than dapoxetine serophene for sale philippines coversyl amiodarone tamoxifen how long to use can order viagra jelly canada order dostinex from canada without prescription ventolin inhalers over the counter femara 20 mg how to take fluoxetine tablets viagra for women over the counter cialis free sample prescription senxi- g extreme viagra femenino canadian pharmacies online legitimate alli coupon october 2012 buying benzac using paypal otc hydrochlorothiazide kamagra oral jelly tablets purchase on line lioresal pharmacy prices list singulair medicine side effects children diamox 20mg tab buy vasodilan cheap gasex pills prescription como comprar aciclovir nos estados unidos where to buy proventil inhalers lowest priced prilosec cheap genuine atorlip-10 online side effects of lincocin how long does it take lexapro to begin working list of tesco stores selling clonidine acivir 200 dosage sex and the city movie extra scenes drugstore coupon code 10 off ciplactin syrup depakote dose in children buy pletal online usa where is game of thrones filmed in croatia atacand western australia names of over the counter water pills anafranil comprar sores in mouth from methotrexate bula serophene 50 acticin medicine online purchase avapro 300mg zovirax prescription coupon order xanax online uk norvasc medication online purchase phenergan mg is generic zaditor available in usa ampicillin compatible potassium generic for levaquin 750 mg generic uk paypal prazosin kegunaan elocon salep safe buy sinequan online how to buy motrin in london pariet pharmacy gastro-resistant tablets discount ashwagandha mg cheapest dramamine in the uk cheap actonel pills ordering keflex here in canada purchase lopressor online which is cheaper yaz or yasmin can order viagra sublingual online baclofen overdose management which uk site to buy lotensin special instructions that must be followed when taking simvastatin getting proscar in australia buy protonix online from uk what does saw palmetto contain cheap maxalt unicure remedies ltd epivir-hbv not generic pulmicort respules shortage viagra price 100mg norvasc sales concept what is ventolin evohaler rizatriptan wafers side effects zebeta on line how to buy meclizine in london revatio mg buy buy cystone without rx protonix online purchase finasteride uses side effects when to take alli pill purchase viagra online in india flagyl neurological side effects dogs buy valtrex online reviews coumadin online usa buy alesse cheap canadian pharmacy can you buy brand levitra in ireland 20mg augmentin 625mg tablets side effects canadian online pharmacy for suprax cipla pharmaceuticals careers do i need a prescription for zofran zanaflex in croatia purinethol discount motilium by mail order cheap buy ampicillin online buy uroxatral capsules order triamterene in can you get high from snorting paxil naprosyn tablets price buy zithromax online india purchase generic hytrin online atorlip-10 india canadian lisinopril paroxetine medication where to buy is robaxin an over the counter drug buy cytoxan 50 buy ranitidine 75 proventil mexico side effects of minoxidil nymphomax canada prescription buy coumadin generic bystolic 2.5 mg tablets can you order allegra canada how many people use illegal drugs in canada erection packs 11 from shipping order buy levothroid prescription clomid dosage for women viagra online purchase can you order seroquel kamagra gold from canada what is the symbol equation for calcium carbonate plus hydrochloric acid pharmacy rx one complaints blood pressure medication tenormin citalopram cost per month can too much thyroid medication cause weight gain canadian allied forces van what does ginette-35 better than medrol remeron 40mg risperdal purchase maximum aspirin dosage chi usa anafranil estrofem tablets 1mg prescription solutions prior authorization forms fax what does hyaluronic acid serum do clozaril medications healthy male viagra buy asacol mg online tamoxifen generic price prometrium visa cleocin gel no prrescription bupropion uk online how many claritin d can you buy order click here buy diarex buy femara mexican pharmacies us online pharmacy no prescription rumalaya liniment prescription drug micronase how long does paxil take to work for ocd zofran odt 4 mg oral tablet disintegrating what is the prescription drug mobic for non generic isoniazid nitrofurantoin ships from india low cost pharmacy lacon il buy depakote online uk capoten india angiotensin enalapril buy zanaflex tablets online buy levitra tablets australia generic online buy zyvox shuddha guggulu without insurance himcocid paypal cialis super active online ordering beconase aq cost comparison depakote reviews mood trimix diving course the online drugstore pravachol coming off paroxetine side effects tenormin without a prescription get nizagara toronto online zenegra purchase eulexin generic for buy cialis 20mg price canadian pharmacy letter can i order keflex no prescription in the usa bentyl 20 mg im brahmi brand positioning cheap nitrofurantoin order lamisil overnight acheter zyban internet viagra professional without a prescription from australia safe online viagra orders order cabgolin online buy plavix with i pill cephalexin website safe naprosyn buy methotrexate 100mg cheap eritromicina 200 mg prospect brand amoxil medication can you buy order cheapest ventolin indian pharmacy acivir pills what is the half life of requip xl legit no prescription pharmacies zyvox online in usa cheap metformin auburn buy cheap plavix how to take levaquin 750 mg synthroid classification cefixime uk brand name cheapest topamax tablets uk norvasc canada prescription very cheap avapro what is prometrium 200 mg allie brosh wedding side effects of triamterene hctz 37.5 is proscar available in canada nitroglycerin 100mg cheap flagyl medication dogs cost of flagyl without insurance promethazine codeine syrup canada walmart pharmacy prices simvastatin comprar zocor en argentina avapro medicine online american standard celerity vessel sink augmentin reviews for men buy nizagara have no prescription buy benzac singapore ceftin without rx what infections does ciprofloxacin treat advair coupon 500 50 printable pharmacy mexico eulexin low cost fosamax florida lady era zenegra best price is it safe to order clomid online tinidazole tablets used for best site get cialis jelly lioresal buy online ireland ventolin inhaler side effects baby compare prices zebeta buy lasix mexican pharmacies purchase arjuna on line in usa where are the parietal cells located gyne-lotrimin brands india what is azathioprine for dogs how to take pletal mg buy viramune online india online probalan purchase is amitriptyline better than ambien dosis de aciclovir para el herpes zoster prednisolone overnight pharmacy how to purchase deltasone online valtrex 500 mg buy valacyclovir better than vermox levitra coupons 2013 acquistare viagra jelly in italia cymbalta uk pharmacy manly sildenafil citrate tablets 100mg non prescription azulfidine pharmacy cheap seroquel kamagra oral jelly online in us where can i buy erythromycin online without a prescription is generic atacand available in usa finasteride 5mg side effects men generic name for zoloft is ann summers original blue pill any good glimepiride 2mg tab ipharmacy dispensing software top 10 online altace sites order chloramphenicol from usa without prescription glucophage metformin weight loss mobic online canada buy livestock online where could i buy duetact without prescription can you buy viagra soft in ireland prescription online pill store ramipril cough help order plavix no prescription sumycin 40mg toradol pills drugstore better than retin-a ge is tricor generic yet alli pct buy cheapest place to buy nitroglycerin valtrex cream for cold sores doxycycline 10mg tablets what is unisom buy brand advair diskus 20 inhalers online uk is benicar better than diovan pak newspapers online free generic phenamax switzerland dulcolax suppository dose for infants stromectol from usa pharmacy buy actos greece a good web page to buy neurontin with no script cialis rezeptfrei billig kaufen wo what does benicar hct treat can you buy emsam over the counter in germany buy levitra plus singapore list of india pharmacies online where to buy ginseng root in singapore generic motrin ib buy ceftin online with no prescription permethrin insecticide brands moduretic delivery donde comprar benzac can you get voveran over the counter buy tindamax 500 mg without prescription where can you buy ciprofloxacin ophthalmic solution discount desyrel india drugs online alli weight loss printable coupons anacin sold over counter diovan where can i buy it prescription solutions prior authorization form procrit tamsulosin hydrochloride alternatives detalii despre viagra is zestoretic legal in uk bipolar medication seroquel retin a cream 0.025 buy cheap ventolin inhalers sale ginseng prices ky 2012 prescription water pills for high blood pressure zaditor eye drops india zoloft sertraline tablets side effects viagra australia buy online can u buy viagra over the counter at walmart where can i order flomax order isoniazid from prescriptions bupropion xl 150 mg anchen buy generic lantus from india buy tadapox 40 best place buy procardia buy ciplox without a script fucidin tablets dose doxycycline generic drug albendazole tablets 400 mg side effects reviews on diclofenac nature insulin receptor eulexin uses medication fosamax drug schedule norvasc spain levitra reviews revolution health search engine optimisation manchester differin online ordering parlodel delivery uk buy cheap cialis canada zyloprim woldwide shipping order lamisil in buy paroxetine 20mg cheap rx sunglasses canada oxytrol in croatia cardura 4 mg 20 tablet can synthroid be discontinued how to buy abilify from canada vente de orlistat au quebec anafranil side effects order renova cream online australia micardis no prescription reviews antivert lawsuit canada ropinirole hydrochloride get high albenza from india benzac ac costo mail order eulexin buy brand snovitra super power
Home Pete Toms Last Week in Bizball: The Importance of Regional Sports Networks

Like Shoot to Thrill - An AC/DC Tribute on Facebook!

An authentic tribute of AC/DC that covers the best of the Bon Scott era and the best of Brian Johnson's material

Who's Online?

We have 1107 guests online

Atom RSS

Last Week in Bizball: The Importance of Regional Sports Networks PDF Print E-mail
User Rating: / 21
PoorBest 
Pete Toms Article Archive
Written by Pete Toms   
Monday, 23 August 2010 17:30

Last Week in Bizball by Pete Toms

This week in “Last Week in BizBall”, the growing importance of Regional Sports Networks (RSNs) in MLB.

National TV is important to MLB. The league reaps a combined $650 million plus annually from their national TV broadcast partners Fox, ESPN and Turner Sports. This is obviously an important source of revenue for MLB, representing approximately 10% of annual revenues. In addition, some pundits ascribe much importance to national TV ratings, using them as a barometer of the popularity of the game. This season’s flat national TV ratings combined with the lowest ratings in All Star Game history give some the impression that MLB is waning in popularity (see this column titled All-Star ratings symptom of greater MLB health woes). What is often overlooked when examining MLB’s place in the TV landscape is that local MLB television programming (ie. live games) has never been more valuable. While each MLB franchise takes in $20 million plus annually from national TV rights, local rights fees or revenues from franchise owned RSNs are often much greater. The vigorous competition amongst MSOs, telcos, sat providers and programmers for local TV rights has proven a cash windfall for many franchises with some potentially blockbuster deals on the horizon.

As more and more of us consume TV programming independent of cable or satellite, live sports programming is a must for MSOs fearful of “cord cutting”. In June, John Ourand, the Sports Media reporter for SportsBusiness Journal wrote an opinion piece titled Live sports may help keep TV viewers from cutting the cord.

People such as Richard Taylor, a 39-year-old graphic designer from Boston, are as responsible as anyone for giving sports channels extra leverage with cable and satellite operators.

That’s because Taylor is part of a growing trend of cord cutters: people who dump their cable subscriptions in favor of free video content on the Internet.

A survey by information technology research firm Yankee Group found that one in eight consumers could cut back their cable service this year. I believe it will be exclusive sports content — rather than entertainment programming — that will keep this migration from happening.

The country’s largest MSO, Comcast, shares ownership of a number of their RSNs with MLB franchises. (CSN Bay Area (Giants), CSN Chicago (White Sox, Cubs) CSN Philadelphia (Phillies) and SportsNet NY (Mets)) This strategy serves a dual purpose for Comcast. Locking up key sports programming makes it more difficult for a competitor to launch an RSN. MSOs favour fewer RSNs in a market because more RSNs results in both higher programming costs and subscriber fees. Plus, ensuring that the baseball franchises will remain part of the CSN stable provides an important hedge against the aforementioned practice of “cord cutting”

The recently concluded bankruptcy auction of the Texas Rangers serves as an example of the competition for local MLB rights. Mark Cuban’s interest in acquiring the baseball franchise led News Corporation (Fox Sports) to seriously consider the same. News Corp.’s motivation was in preventing Mr. Cuban from establishing a competing RSN to their Fox Sports Southwest. In January of this year, the SportsBusiness Journal reported that, “Earlier this year, Fox Sports Net tried to offer Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks a cash advance to help him with financial troubles. According to local press reports at the time, MLB stepped in to block the move.” The week of the auction, Richard Sandomir reported for the New York Times.

For Cuban, buying all or part of the Rangers would give him the baseball team he has apparently coveted; he showed some early interest in the Chicago Cubs before they were acquired by the Ricketts family.

More than Cuban, News Corporation views the Rangers as a strategic asset. The team's games are carried on its Fox Sports Southwest regional sports network. If News Corporation buys the team, it would essentially own the television rights, and prevent Cuban from possibly starting a regional network with the Rangers and the Mavericks as linchpins.

Fox Sports’ interest in acquiring the Rangers was a surprise to many. After all, it is less than seven years since Fox concluded the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to the present owners. Fox was so eager to sell the franchise that they financed a portion of the sale themselves. But perhaps we shouldn’t have been surprised because the potential benefit of owning the Rangers for Fox is the same as was their ownership of the Dodgers. In January 03, Brian Dohn reported on Fox’s pending sale of the Dodgers.

In 1998, Murdoch bought the Dodgers from Peter O'Malley for $311 million to build a cable network on the West Coast before competitor Disney could do the same. It worked; Disney, owner of the Angels and Mighty Ducks, canceled plans to form an ESPN West channel.

Murdoch's son, Lachlan, left little to be debated regarding News Corp.'s future with the Dodgers during an interview on ``Charlie Rose'' last week.

"With the Dodgers, strategically it was the right thing to own the Dodgers while we were building our cable (assets/sports channels),'' said Lachlan, News Corp.'s deputy chief operating officer . ``I think that strategic imperative has passed now.''

SELECT READ MORE TO SEE THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE ON THE GROWTH OF REGIONAL SPORTS NETWORKS (RSNs)

Also recently, Rogers Communications Inc. (RCI), owner of the Toronto Blue Jays, has leveraged ownership of their baseball franchise to launch a new sports channel (Sportsnet ONE), expanding their regional Sportsnet RSN to five channels from four. RCI, like Comcast, is both an MSO and a programmer. In February 09, the Biz of Baseball reported on the widespread speculation in the Toronto media that RCI no longer saw the benefit of MLB ownership within its telecommunications conglomerate. Is it coincidence that rumours of a sale of the Blue Jays have disappeared at the same time RCI needs Blue Jays games to launch a new channel? Similarly, in separate transactions, RCI purchased the baseball franchise and the Sportsnet RSN circa 2000. While RCI’s cable competitors carry the other Sportsnet channels, carriage deals have not yet been concluded for the new Sportsnet ONE channel which launched August 14. Denying the segment of Blue Jays fans who are non-Rogers cable subscribers access to twenty five of their remaining games (at the time of Sportsnet ONE launch) has predictably brought pressure on RCI’s cable competitors to come to a carriage agreement for the new channel.

The predictability and stability of revenues generated from RSNs are immensely beneficial to MLB franchises. Revenues generated at the stadium (primarily ticketing) are volatile, hostage to the unpredictable on the field fortunes of teams, but RSN revenue is money in the bank. In 2008, FSN Detroit committed more than $1 billion to lock up the local TV rights to Tigers, Pistons and Red Wings for 10 years. The Tigers share is reportedly $400 million. The Detroit teams benefited from being courted by AT&T and EchoStar, who had plans of launching their own RSN in the Detroit market. In 07, the Mariners reached a 12 year / $500 million deal with FSN Northwest. In 06, the Angels signed a 10 year / $500 million deal with FSN West. In Houston, the Astros reportedly earn upwards of $30 million annually from their deal with FS Houston. The Astros could exercise an out clause in their deal with FS Houston after the 12 season and according to numerous reports, competition amongst Fox, Comcast and AT&T/EchoStar to acquire the rights is fierce. Once again, the goal of both Comcast and the AT&T/EchoStar bids is to use the programming to establish an RSN.

Some clubs have foregone selling their TV rights in favour of establishing their own RSN. In 06 the Indians launched SportsTime Ohio, spurning an offer from FSN Ohio reportedly in excess of $30 million per season. Along with the Indians, the Yankees (YES), Red Sox (NESN) and Orioles/Nationals (MASN) own the RSN which broadcasts their games. Just as with rights fees, the affiliate fees which these RSNs collect from cable and sat are guaranteed whether the club excels or disappoints on the field. (subscription fees are collected by cable and sat, a portion of that fee, aka the affiliate fee, is shared back to the RSN) While “over the air” broadcasters struggle due to audience fragmentation and the recession, the “dual revenue stream” of cable (ads and subscriber fees) is clearly more viable. Illustrating the value of sports programming, SNL Kagan reported in June that RSNs outperformed other cable networks last year.

According to data from SNL Kagan, total revenue at regional sports networks (RSNs) increased 6.6% in 2009 to $4.6 billion, slightly outperforming the 4.8% total revenue growth of basic and HD cable networks.

AND

SNL Kagan data shows that all 36 RSNs posted positive revenue growth, illustrating the power of dual revenue streams. Although ad revenue for RSNs was down 6.0% to $608.8 million in 2009, affiliate revenue was up 9.0% to nearly $4 billion.

According to the same report, the #1 RSN in terms of revenue in 09 was the Yankees owned YES Network which took in more than $400 million. It has been widely reported that the New York Yankees do not turn a profit, that their greatest value is the content they provide to YES. Does the near future in MLB include more franchises launching their own RSNs? Recent reports had Pittsburgh Penguins owners Mario Lemieux and Ron Burkle interested in purchasing the Pirates in order to establish their own RSN. The Padres and Astros are reportedly both considering establishing an RSN. And speculation won’t go away that two of MLB’s crown jewels, the Cubs and Dodgers, have plans to establish their own cable channels. Bruce Levine reported in February that despite the Cubs receiving approximately $30 million per season from CSN Chicago (the Cubs also have a rights deal with WGN) they still have plans to launch their own channel.

The Cubs’ future on television will find them venturing out with their own Cubs cable network at some point. The historic National League team has long agreements with Comcast, as well as WGN television and radio. However, the new ownership group, led by Tom Ricketts and his family, are looking into a new 24-hour Cubs station in the future.

The New York Yankees make hundreds of millions of dollars off of their YES Network that they formed 10 years ago. The Yankees show most of their games and have Yankees’ programming 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on their station. The Cubs’ following and their legions of fans across the country indicate a total access cable station of their own would be a huge success.

The divorce trial of Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt has revealed that their long-term plans for the baseball club include(d?) establishing a Dodgers centred RSN. Whether or not one of the McCourts eventually retains ownership of the club remains to be seen but a new owner could well attempt the same. Bill Shaikin wrote earlier this month, “The Dodgers are pinching pennies until 2013, when their contract with Fox expires and they can start their own cable channel, one that the team hopes might add $100 million per year to the bottom line.”

As local TV revenues outpace national TV revenues, what sort of challenges does this pose to MLB and the MLBPA? It is believed that already several franchises underreport the market value of their RSN revenue by tens of millions of dollars, and in one case maybe substantially more. Increasing disparities in local TV revenues, particularly if they are not counted as “baseball related” revenue and therefore exempt from revenue sharing, could lead to more competitive imbalance.

Last week John Ourand wrote in the SportsBusiness Journal on the recent proliferation of, and plans for more, sports channels. (The trend is by no means restricted to RSNs featuring MLB) Teams, leagues and college conferences, everybody seems to want their own channel. Mr. Ourand cautions that this isn’t new and sometimes fails.

It seems that everywhere distributors look, someone is trying to launch a sports channel. The most activity seems to be with college sports, but several professional sports teams, like the Astros and Rockets in Houston and the Padres in San Diego, also are looking into setting up TV channels rather than renewing rights deals with existing regional sports networks.

Distributors have seen this kind of frenzy before. In 2002, when the New York Yankees launched YES Network, several MLB teams tried to follow suit.

The Kansas City Royals tried to launch their own RSN before the 2003 season; the Minnesota Twins tried to launch just after the 2003 season.

Neither succeeded. Cable operators in Minnesota and Missouri largely refused to cut carriage deals for either network. Both were in much smaller markets than the Yankees, and the teams had a harder time whipping up public support to pressure multisystem operators to carry the channel.

The final word to blogger Bill Gurley.

Affiliate fees are driving an endless supply of channels for anyone that has “must see” content. The NFL has a channel, and had some high profile disagreements with the carriers over the “need” for its affiliate fee. You also see an NBA channel, an MLB channel, and pro wrestling is vying for one as well. If you own exclusive content, you might as well build a channel around it. This endless proliferation of channels will one day reach a limit, but for now it’s the game on the field.

“Last Week in BizBall” will return September 5.


Pete Toms is senior writer for the Business of Sports Network, most notably, The Biz of Baseball. He looks forward to your comments and can be contacted through The Biz of Baseball.

Follow The Biz of Baseball on Twitter Twitter

FacebookFollow the Business of Sports Network on Facebook

 
 
Banner

Poll

Should MLB Force Jeffery Loria to Sell the Marlins?