Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Extra Innings On Cable
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.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.
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 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. :-)