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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Extra Innings On Cable

Extra Innings will once more be on cable TV, which is a good thing, I think. (Here's the MLB.com press release.) Commenter williamnyy23 at The Griddle makes a good point:
Score one for MLB. Instead of caving to public pressure and the lobbying power of the cable companies, MLB exercised its leverage and did something not even the NFL could do ...get the cable companies to blink. Now, the MLB Channel will launch to 40 million homes. The revenue opportunity presented by that development cannot be understated.

I think this development is just the beginning for MLB. What baseball has that the NFL doesn't is an abundance of programming. In a network world, the NFL's limited, but high profile content is king, but in an Internet/on-demand world, MLB's extensive content becomes more lucrative.

The only loser in this deal are the cable companies...not because they got a bad deal, but because they weren't able to strong arm like they usually do.

The problem with NFL is how little content there really is... I would assume the overhead costs are signficant, but more than made up for by the large audience. Whether Senator Kerry had anything to do with this will be interesting to find out.


Agreed on how little content there is on the NFL channel. Really only those six regular season games (which aren't exactly big matchups), some preseason games and a minor bowl game or two. The rest is endless discussion of the draft, training camps or next week's games, depending on the time of year. Then there's some NFL films content (but not really any more than ESPN classic has) and some cheerleader specials.

The difference is that MLB could use EI as a threat to get the MLB channel on the air. The NFL can't do that with Sunday Ticket, apparently because the networks that pay them huge money don't want people watching Sunday Ticket instead of their local broadcaster. They sort of tolerate DirecTV having Sunday Ticket, but they don't want it expanded to a wider audience. MLB doesn't have that problem, so they could tie the two together.

Now let's hope the MLB Channel does better on content. It certainly looks like it will kick off with the second WBC. Beyond a game of the week or so, they could carry minor league and college games and I would hope (oh please oh please) that they show a NPB game of the week too. Tape delayed would be fine for that. :-)
I have to say I saw this coming miles away. Congrats to MLB for getting a relatively wide launch. As for the cable companies, it's not like my heart really weeps for them...

...though I'm sure they're just going to stick it to me somehow anyway in increased rates...

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