In tracking the upcoming MLB Extra Innings to DirecTV exclusive deal, it seems that the emotions of many of baseball’s most ardent fans has been the key focus. Today, on Baseball Prospectus, I touch on the matter of how baseball’s most loyal fans will be some of those that will be impacted the most by the deal, but work to try and peel back some of the layers to the deal to outline why MLB might be going this route given the backlash, why some of it makes sense, and why, in the end, it’s a poor decision based on other factors beyond the exclusionary nature of the deal.
The article entitled, A Deeper Look at the Exclusive Extra Innings to DirecTV Deal, breaks down the deal into the following:
- The tipping point in the deal centers around the 24-hour baseball-only channel slated to launch in 2009, which ties into MLB’s overarching and control of content—a valuable asset.
- The exclusionary nature of the MLB deal is different from the deal that the NFL has for Sunday Ticket due to Sunday Ticket always being exclusively on DirecTV, without supplying it to cable and EchoStar carriers.
- I touch on Ben Silverman’s article on Yahoo Finance (Making Noise: Batter Up! Is Major League Baseball Prepping for an Interactive IPO?) in which Ben writes that a possible strategy for MLB that ties with The Baseball Channel is MLB’s ability to go IPO with MLBAM, something that was looked at in late 2005. I talk about how this action would seem best suited to when revenues fall flat or drop for MLB.
- A key aspect of the article touches on how a decline in housing starts impacts the overall growth of the PayTV industry as a whole, and therefore impacts growth potential in the long run, beyond the lowering of consumer visibility that going exclusive with Extra Innings on DirecTV will do.
- There are upsides to the deal, as I touch on the ability to get the 24-hour baseball only channel on the basic tier on DirecTV, more HD programming, reduced rates for those that purchase MLB.TV and Extra Innings together, as well as better streaming rates for MLB.TV going forward this year.
The final thoughts revolve around these points, as well as how baseball’s most passionate fans are impacted the most. Once again, view the article on Baseball Prospectus here.
OTHER EXTRA INNINGS ONLY ON DIRECTV ARTICLES ON BIZ OF BASEBALL (from oldest to newest)
Maury Brown is the founder of The Biz of Baseball and an author for Baseball Prospectus. He can be contacted here.