Welcome to Opening Day 2007!
As you sit down and get ready for the season, many a fan that has moved away from their beloved team is looking for any way they can to catch them on television. If you're on The Biz of Baseball, it's most likely because you have done so watching Extra Innings, MLB's package that allows you to watch out-of-market games.
As we reported yesterday, MLB extended the deadline with iN Demand and EchoStar to try and see if they can work a deal to keep Extra Innings on cable and DISH Networks. If they do not work out a deal, Extra Innings will be exclusively available on DirecTV as part of a 7-year, $700 million deal.
Biz of Baseball has been tracking the negotiations extensively, so much so that we have a dedicated section of the site, just for it. Selecting the link to this article, and looking at the navigation tier to the left will show DirecTV/Extra Innings as a sub-section under Media News.
If you don't want comb through the archive, here's a recap of where we stand:
- One of the key sticking points prior was matching the same number of households that DirecTV has signed on to do. iN Demand has said it will meet that provision via 80% of their digital households.
The sticking point now is the ownership equity component of The Baseball Channel. Recall that MLB has offered DirecTV a 20% ownership stake, but that is based on exclusivity. If iN Demand becomes a player, DirecTV's equity in ownership would need to be diluted.
- EchoStar, who runs DISH Networks, appears to be in the same position, and last week it was reported by the Sports Business Daily, "EchoStar's Dish Network appears much closer than cable's InDemand to striking a deal with MLB to carry Extra Innings and the planned MLB Channel, marking a potentially significant breakthrough in the distribution logjam that has lasted for months."
Like iN Demand, they too will not work a deal without ownership equity.
- MLB will continue to keep the 80% ownership in The Baseball Channel, thus negotiations are now around splitting up the 20% stake between 3 parties (DirecTV, EchoStar, and iN Demand).
UPDATE: 17:03:33 PDT: Word is the sides are still talking at this hour. Stay tuned and let us know your thoughts via the comments.