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By Eric Fisher & John Ourand, Staff Writers, SportsBusiness Journal
MLB appears to have rebuffed a last-ditch effort by the cable industry to keep the league’s Extra Innings out-of-market TV package from going exclusively to DirecTV. MLB is expected to announce a planned seven-year, $700M deal with DirecTV as soon as next week, a senior baseball source said. Sources familiar with the negotiations said cable reps went back to MLB about a week ago and offered to match the financials of DirecTV’s bid but without the requirement of exclusivity. The cable lobby also agreed to guarantee the same amount of distribution for MLB’s planned channel, which is scheduled to launch as soon as ’09. That doesn’t necessarily mean cable would place the channel on its expanded basic tier, however. DirecTV has agreed to place the channel on its Total Choice package, which has close to 15 million subscribers and represents nearly all of the satellite carrier’s customers. MLB has been steadfast against limited tiering for the planned channel, with the placement representing a key element of the negotiations for the Extra Innings package. As a result, the most recent talks with cable officials failed to gain any significant traction, industry sources said.
INTERNAL DISSENTION? Meanwhile, baseball and TV industry chatter has been centered on several team execs beginning to express private frustration over the pending DirecTV deal and the vitriol to it seen on fan blogs and message boards. Senior MLB execs denied the presence of internal unrest over the pact, and last month, DirecTV President & CEO Chase Carey appeared before MLB owners during league meetings in Phoenix with no appearance of any detrimental effect to the pending accord. However, Padres President Sandy Alderson told the North County (CA) Times, “This deal is particularly unfortunate in San Diego. If you have satellite TV, you can’t get the Padres. Now, if you have cable, you can’t get the MLB package. And if you want both, it means adding one or the other, and it would cost quite a bit of money.” Cox Communications offers its Channel 4 San Diego, with exclusive rights to Padres games, only to cable operators. A similar situation exists in Philadelphia, with Comcast SportsNet not appearing on DirecTV in that market. Within cable circles this week, there was talk that MLB was planning to get around this type of problem by granting DirecTV the right to resell the Extra Innings package to video services offered by telephone companies Verizon and AT&T. Baseball officials could not be reached at presstime to confirm any such arrangement.
Selig Says New DirecTV Deal
Has Fans’ Interests In Mind
GREAT DEBATE: USA TODAY offers a point/counterpoint debate on the deal. A USA TODAY editorial states leagues and broadcasters are “eager to squeeze every last dollar out of each deal. If DirecTV is willing to pay so much for exclusive rights that it’s worth turning away cable dollars, that’s how it goes. But [MLB] owners ... are selling out their most devoted fans for a pittance.” The deal would provide MLB $40M more annually, which would average $1.3M per team, “not even enough to sign a second-rate second baseman.” In the counterpoint, MLB Exec VP/Business Tim Brosnan writes, “Any deal for the [MLB] Extra Innings subscription package, when concluded, will in no way affect a single fan’s ability to watch games of his home club in his home market.” Brosnan noted an out-of-market package will still be available either through Extra Innings or MLB.TV. Brosnan: “We have had fair and open negotiations with cable, satellite and telephone company distributors regarding the distribution of a new MLB dedicated channel to all our fans and the continuation of the MLB Extra Innings package. ... Our goal remains to provide as much MLB programming as we can to the maximum number of viewers, and any consummated deal will reflect that” (USA TODAY, 2/16).
CBS Signs Recently Retired
Cowher As NFL Analyst
TVG Cuts Off Negotiations
With Churchill Downs Inc.
The following lists final Nielsen ratings for recent sports events (THE DAILY).
SHOWDATENETTIMERAT/SHRThe Honda Ski Tour: Breckenridge (taped)2/10ABC2:00-3:00pm0.6/2"Inside College Basketball"2/10ABC3:00-3:30pm0.5/1NCAA: Men's Basketball: (regional)2/10ABC3:30-6:00pm1.2/3NCAA: Men's Basketball: (regional)2/10CBS1:00-3:22pm1.6/4Golf: PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach
Nat'l Pro-Am: Third Round2/10CBS3:22-6:00pm2.1/5NFL: Pro Bowl2/10CBS6:00-9:41pm4.6/9NASCAR Nextel Cup: Budweiser Shootout2/10Fox8:29-10:04pm4.8/9PBR: Built Ford Tough Series: The Atlanta Classic Presented by Zaxby's (taped)2/10NBC4:30-6:00pm1.2/3"NBA Sunday Countdown"2/11ABC12:30-12:57pm1.2/3NBA: Spurs-Heat2/11ABC12:57-3:32pm1.9/5NBA: Lakers-Cavaliers2/11ABC3:32-5:52pm2.7/6Amp'd Mobile AMA Supercross
Series: Houston (taped)2/11CBS12:00-1:00pm0.9/2NCAA: Men's Basketball:
Connecticut-Georgia Tech2/11CBS1:00-3:12pm1.0/2Golf: PGA Tour: AT&T Pebble Beach
Nat'l Pro-Am: Final Round2/11CBS3:12-6:30pm3.0/6NASCAR Nextel Cup: Daytona 500:
Pole Qualifying2/11Fox2:00-5:15pm2.8/7USSA Chevrolet Snowboard
Grand Prix (taped)2/11NBC2:30-3:30pm0.9/2NHL: (regional)2/11NBC3:30-6:00pm0.8/2
SHOWDATENETU.S. AREACOV. AREA000sNCAA Men's Basketball: Duke-Virginia2/1ESPN1.11.31,186NBA: Spurs-Suns2/1TNT1.21.51,379NBA: Cavaliers-Heat2/1TNT1.21.41,294NCAA Men's Basketball: Texas A&M-Kansas2/3ESPN1.01.21,125NCAA Men's Basketball: Indiana-Iowa2/3ESPN0.91.11,038"NFL PrimeTime"2/4ESPN1.72.01,867"NFL Countdown"2/4ESPN1.72.01,855PBA: Sun City Classic2/4ESPN0.91.11,034
THE DAILY presents "What's The Frequency?," which highlights the subjects being discussed this week during afternoon drive shows on sports talk radio across the U.S. The following chart lists some of those topics. Local stations are listed in order of market size.
Sirius NFL Radio (3-7pm ET) “The Afternoon Blitz” Giants’ roster cuts; Chargers fire Marty Schottenheimer; Tiki Barber takes job with NBC; Potential franchise tagsMARKET -- STATIONSHOW Miami -- WAXY “The Dan Le Batard Show” Pat Riley returning to Heat after All-Star break; Former NBAer John Amaechi reveals he’s gay; Former NBAer Tim Hardaway says he hates gay people Miami --WQAM “Power Hour” Heat climb back to .500; Pat Riley returning to Heat after All-Star break; Miguel Cabrera misses Marlins’ FanFest; Who will replace Marty Schottenheimer with Chargers? Detroit -- WXYT “The Sports Inferno” NBA to place franchise in Las Vegas?; Tim Hardaway’s comments; Michigan-Michigan State hoops; Pistons favored to win East? Seattle -- KJR “The Gas Man” Sonics’ new arena proposal gets lukewarm reception; Can Univ. of Washington still make NCAA tourney?; Daytona 500 preview; Daytona 500 cheating; NCAA football timing rules Phoenix -- KDUS “Calling All Sports With Roc & Manuch” Suns slide into All-Star break; D’Backs pitchers and catchers report; How to bet on Daytona 500; World Golf Championship bracket; Should Wayne Gretzky step down? Minneapolis -- KFAN “The Chad Hartman Show” Tim Hardaway’s comments; Twins’ new deal with Joe Mauer; T’Wolves; Wild; Univ. of Minnesota hoops; Rumors of Vikings trading for David Carr; NFL Draft previews Charlotte -- WFNZ “Prime Time With The Packman” Daytona 500 preview; NASCAR controversies; What’s wrong with Duke basketball?; Tim Hardaway’s comments; How many ACC teams will make NCAA tourney?; NBA All-Star in Las Vegas
Want to add your own Frequency? Contact Josh Rosen at firstname.lastname@example.org.