SBD/Issue 151/Sports Media

MLB Media Notes: Padres Games Still Not Airing On DirecTV, AT&T

Padres Games Remain Available Only Through
Cox Communications And Time Warner Cable

In San Diego, Mike Freeman in a front-page piece reports Padres games are "not appearing yet on DirecTV or AT&T U-verse in the San Diego market" despite a FCC decision in January that "forbids cable companies from keeping local sports programming all to themselves." Padres games remain available only through Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable, and it "will probably stay that way all summer." Complicated federal procedures "for fully implementing the commission's January decision have yet to be completed," and it "isn't clear how long all this might take." Cox "has exclusive rights to show the Padres games through the 2011 season," and it "licenses its broadcasts to Time Warner Cable, which isn't a direct competitor." But Cox "refuses to license the games to rivals AT&T or satellite television providers." Cox and Time Warner "have 87[%] of the San Diego subscription TV market" (SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE, 4/20).

GOING THE DISTANCE: Fox earned a 3.0 overnight Nielsen rating for Saturday's MLB coverage, which featured the 20-inning Mets-Cardinals game. In N.Y., Bob Raissman notes the telecast was up 11% from the comparable week two game last season. Cardinals-Mets also "went up against three NBA playoff games on ESPN ... because of its length," and the NBA games averaged a 2.3 overnight rating. Meanwhile, Mets-Cardinals earned a 6.5 local rating in the N.Y. market and an 18.3 local rating in St. Louis. The game peaked at an 11.1 rating in N.Y. around 11:00pm ET, and peaked at a 29.3 rating in St. Louis at 10:30pm ET (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 4/20).

BLACK MARK: In Honolulu, Ferd Lewis wrote under the header, "Blackouts In Hawaii Black Eye For MLB." The Giants, A's, Dodgers and Angels "have claimed" Hawaii as part of their home markets for broadcast purposes, which comes with the "head-scratching restriction that home games not sold out 48 hours [in advance] are blacked out on many cable outlets and channels [in Hawaii], including MLB Extra Innings and MLB.com." The Mariners "a while ago lifted their blackout 'as a test' and have, so far, not reinstated it" (HONOLULU ADVERTISER, 4/18).

GAME STOP: In N.Y., Seth Schiesel reviews Sony's "MLB 10: The Show," which is "perhaps the most finely calibrated, lusciously animated, fanatically detailed team sports game yet made." Schiesel: "Every time I made a ridiculously boneheaded play ... the result felt like a proper organic response to my own mistakes rather than an arbitrary punishment by the software." But the game "takes so much for granted in terms of what the player understands not only about baseball but also about baseball video games that anyone who is not altogether steeped in both ... is bound to come away frustrated." Not even videogames "based on individual sports are as relentlessly technical as top team sports games like MLB 10." Still, "MLB 10" simply "oozes the pace and feel of real baseball" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/20).

WELCOME TO THE TEAM: Baseball Writers Association of America Secretary-Treasurer Jack O'Connell will become a live blogger on the Yankees Universe Web site for all Yankees games. His blog will be located in the "Homestand Blog" section of the site (Yankees).

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