MLB Extra Innings: Wikis

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MLB Extra Innings.svg

MLB Extra Innings is an Out-of-Market Sports Package distributed in North America by satellite provider DirecTV since 1996[1] and by most cable providers since 2001 [2]. The package allows its subscribers to see up to 80 out-of-market Major League Baseball games a week using local over the air stations and regional sports networks. Dish Network offered the package from 2004-2006, but has since removed it permanently, due to contract disputes.[3] As a result, the satellite provider also will never carry the new channel MLB Network.

As of the 2008 season, the feeds from both teams' broadcasts are available for each game on DIRECTV, even if a team is showing the game locally on a broadcast station. Even though the package relies on satellite uplink paths DIRECTV it also carries feeds from local broadcast and even cable-only networks as well, such as 4SD for The San Diego Padres and CSN Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Phillies.

The iN DEMAND version of Extra Innings added the "dual feed" system for select broadcasts after the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. Along with this, the iN DEMAND version of MLB Extra Innings has been able to add over-the-air television stations, WPCH/Peachtree TV Atlanta, WWOR/my9 New York, WJZ/CBS 13 Baltimore, WDCA/my20 Washington, WPIX/CW 11 New York, and KTXH/my 20 Houston, and in addition, one Canadian RSN, the Toronto Blue Jays' Rogers Sports Net feed. Previously, only one feed was available, usually the home team's.

Free previews of MLB Extra Innings are shown during the first week of the season, and the week after the All Star Game.

Contents

Availability

MLB Extra Innings is available with these cable and satellite providers:

  • Mexico and Central America:
  • South America and Caribbean:

New contract and controversy

On March 6, 2007, DirecTV signed a new seven-year carriage contract with the MLB. At first, it was to be an exclusive deal worth $700 million. However, as a result of viewer complaints and antitrust concerns - voiced by, among others, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry - MLB agreed to offer the package for renewal by cable systems and Dish Network. By March 9, negotiations had begun to try to settle the dispute, with a deadline of April 1, the first day of the MLB regular season. [4] MLB demanded that the cable systems bundle the renewal of the Extra Innings package with the MLB Network, a 24-hour network in the vein of NFL Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network that MLB launched on January 1, 2009. Furthermore, these systems were asked to place the channel on an expanded digital tier. At least one major system, Time Warner Cable, balked at the terms. [5]

The offer from the cable consortium to MLB would have matched the financing portion, but cable was only willing to put the MLB Network on a premium tier. Cable systems did guarantee to reach at least as many viewers of MLB Network as DirecTV will reach. MLB was not satisfied with the offer, and publicly claimed that the cable companies failed to meet more of the criteria for the deal than they had actually met.[6] However, while MLB wanted the cable systems to match the same offer as DirecTV, MLB would be providing more generous benefits to DirecTV for the very same offer: DirecTV would be receiving a stake in MLB Network, thereby barring cable systems from receiving the telecasts. Hence, MLB was accused of claiming that cable would not meet the same terms as DirecTV, while not offering the same deal to the cable consortium.[7]

As of the start of the season on April 2, only DirecTV had agreed to those terms and was able to retain Extra Innings. It would not be available on any cable system until after the deadline was extended and agreements were reached.

On April 4, MLB and iN DEMAND finally reached an agreement similar to the one that MLB reached with DirecTV. Cable companies that carry iN DEMAND resumed carrying MLB Extra Innings and also agreed to add the MLB Network upon its launch. iN DEMAND only had the authority to negotiate directly for and agree to add the MLB Network on their owners' cable systems which are made up by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse (Bright House Networks); in turn, iN DEMAND got an equity stake in the MLB Network about the same as the one DirecTV received. Cablevision which had been asking for their own equity stake as terms for them to agree to add the MLB Network came to terms with iN DEMAND and Major League Baseball on May 4, 2007 which was iN DEMAND and MLB's deadline for cable companies and Dish Network to reach a deal. Dish never came to an agreement, and is no longer on speaking terms with MLB. Cablevision agreed to carry the MLB Network without getting the equity stake in it. Charter Communications also reached an agreement with MLB.[8]

iN DEMAND places MLB Extra Innings on the same channels as its NHL Center Ice service. Some providers, like Comcast and Suddenlink Communications may not offer all 14 MLB game channels. Because of hockey games shown on the same channels (particularly in April), some nights on Comcast and Suddenlink see no more than 2 or 3 games being shown. Some Comcast cable systems do carry all 14 game channels, while some systems have limited number of channels. DirecTV customers do not have this problem, as their 15 channels (mostly RSN remaps) are dedicated solely to baseball.

Comcast HD Restrictions and Blackouts

Comcast restricts its customers from viewing MLB Extra Innings games in HD. Comcast's restriction on HD broadcasts add to existing blackout restrictions in some broadcast markets. For example, Comcast customers living in the Houston-area broadcast market are restricted from watching the Texas Rangers. This blackout restriction is applied to both MLB Extra Innings and all local and regional broadcast stations.

Additional "Superfan" feature

MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV has launched a "Superfan" premium package similar to that available from NFL Sunday Ticket. This includes a "Game Mix" with eight games on the same channel, and a "Strike Zone Channel" with live cut-ins to the night's games. It is commercial free as well, and is also available in HD.

DirecTV subscribers with the Superfan package for the 2008 season also get access to up to 40 games in HD each week. In 2007, at least 10 games each week were in HD. HD equipment is required. Superfan costs an additional $50 on top of the MLB Extra Innings package subscription cost as well as requires one to subscribe to the $9.99 HD monthly access fee. [9]

Beginning with the 2009 MLB season, "Superfan" will no longer be an option with MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV. Up to 40 HD games per week will be a part of the base package, provided subscribers already possess HD ready equipment, and pay the aforementioned HD monthly access fee. [10]

Blackout restrictions

Game broadcasts of a major league team in its home market are blacked out in that area if the same game is on the Extra Innings schedule. In most cases, these games can be seen locally on a broadcast or cable/satellite network. (If both feeds are available, as noted above, they are both blacked out.)

Nationally-broadcast games on Fox or ESPN are not made available on Extra Innings. Chicago Cubs and White Sox games broadcasted nationally on WGN America are also blacked out occasionally.

FOX has exclusive broadcasting rights for Saturday afternoon games. Any game starting after 1:10 and before 7:05 Eastern time on Saturdays will not be broadcast on MLB Extra Innings, denying fans the opportunity to pay to watch out-of-market games which start during the early afternoon, such as at 1:15 PM Eastern, even though the Fox broadcast does not start until 4:00 PM by which time many of those early games have been completed or are in the late innings.

ESPN has exclusive broadcast rights for Sunday evening games. Any game starting after 5:00 PM Eastern time on Sundays will not be broadcast on MLB Extra Innings. ESPN also televises a number of other games throughout the week. These, however, are not blacked out.

In North Carolina, Time Warner persistently refuses to carry the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which means all Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles games - home and away - are blacked out because MLB includes the state in those teams' broadcast territory. North Carolina's Time Warner customers are now considering a class action lawsuit[citation needed] because they have access to 15% fewer games despite paying the same fee for the package as all other parts of the country.

Package Price History

Many cable and satellite companies offer "early bird" package prices if ordered by the first week of the season or for automatic renewal. The following prices were for the regular listed price per season for the cable packages.

  • 1996-2000: $139 [11]
  • 2001: $149 [12]
  • 2002: $159 [13]
  • 2008: $199
  • 2009: $191.94 (early renewal price)
  • 2010: $199 [14]

DIRECTV has historically charged less for their SD only package than cable ($169 to renew and $179 for early bird in 2008) and instead offered HD and 'Superfan' for an additional charge.

See also

References

  1. ^ Baseball Prospectus.com
  2. ^ Baseball Prospectus.com
  3. ^ Dish Network Official Site - MLB Extra Innings Information
  4. ^ [1]
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ [3]
  7. ^ [4]
  8. ^ [5]
  9. ^ [6]
  10. ^ http://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/global/contentPageNR.jsp?assetId=3180002&footernavtype=-1
  11. ^ [7]
  12. ^ [8]
  13. ^ [9]
  14. ^ [https://www.directv.com/DTVAPP/content/sports/mlb 2010 Price}

External links

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