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MLB Extra Innings

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MLB Extra Innings
MLB Extra Innings is an Out-of-Market Sports Package distributed by most cable and satellite providers in North America. The package allows its subscribers to see up to 60 out-of-market Major League Baseball games a week using local and national television networks.

AvailabilityEdit

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

  • United States:
    • DirecTV
    • iN DEMAND
      • Bright House Networks
      • Cablevision (iO)
      • Charter Communications
      • Comcast
      • Cox Communications
      • Midcontinent Communications
      • RCN
      • Suddenlink Communications
      • Time Warner
  • Canada:
    • Bell ExpressVu
    • Access Communications
    • Cogeco
    • Rogers Cable
    • Vidéotron

New contract and controversyEdit

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.[1] MLB demanded that the cable systems bundle the renewal of the Extra Innings package with The Baseball Channel, a proposed 24-hour network in the vein of NFL Network or NBA TV that MLB hopes to launch by 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.[2]

The offer from the cable consortium to MLB would have matched the financing portion, but cable was only willing to put The Baseball Channel on a premium tier. It should be noted, however, that the cable systems did guarantee to reach at least as many viewers of The Baseball Channel 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.[3] 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 The Baseball Channel, thereby barring cable systems from receiving the telecasts. Hence, MLB is publicly claiming that cable would not meet the same terms as DirecTV, but from the outset was not offering the same deal to the cable consortium.[4]

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 will resume carrying MLB Extra Innings, effective immediately, and also agreed to add the Baseball Channel. iN DEMAND only had the authority to negotiate directly for and agree to add the Baseball Channel on their owners' cable systems which are made up by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse as (Bright House Networks) in turn iN DEMAND got an equity stake in the Baseball Channel 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 Baseball Channel 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. Cablevision agreed to carry The Baseball Channel without getting the equity stake in it. It is being reported that Charter Communications has also reached an agreement with MLB. [5]

It should be noted that a few cable providers like Comcast and Suddenlink Communications may not offer all 14 MLB game channels, while a few game channels shares channel space with NHL Center Ice thus excluding a certain amount of games from their customers. Because of hockey games shown on the same channels, some nights on Comcast and Suddenlink no more than 2 or 3 games are 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 are dedicated solely to baseball.

New features for 2007Edit

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 cut-ins to the night's highlights.

DirecTV subscribers with the Superfan package also get access to at least one game in HD each day, up to 10 per week. HD equipment is required.

Blackout restrictionsEdit

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 are available on a normal local channel or cable channel anyway.

Nationally-broadcast games on FOX, ESPN or TBS are not made available on Extra Innings.

FOX has exclusive broadcasting rights for Saturday afternoon games. Any game starting prior to 7:00 Eastern time on Saturdays will not be broadcast on MLB Extra Innings.

ESPN has exclusive broadcast rights for Sunday evening games. Any game starting after 8:00 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.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit

Template:Major League Baseball on national television

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