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Extra Innings to be a DirecTV exclusive

According to The Biz of Baseball, the DirecTV deal to exclusively carry the Extra Innings package could take place sometime this week.  Even though the cable companies made a counter offer.

Sources familiar with the negotiations said cable reps went back to MLB about a week ago and offered to match the financials of DirecTV's bid but without the requirement of exclusivity. The cable lobby also agreed to guarantee the same amount of distribution for MLB's planned channel, which is scheduled to launch as soon as '09.

Just to show how disconnected MLB is from its fans, MLB vice-president had this to say:

"Any deal for the Major League Baseball's Extra Innings subscription package, when concluded, will in no way affect a single fan's ability to watch games of his home club in his home market."

No one buys Extra Innings to see their home market team.  They buy it to see out of market teams, what an unbelievably moronic statement by MLB's VP.  It is almost inconceivable that they could be this detached.  Or possibly, they think baseball fans are just so clueless that they can use this line of crap to placate the masses.

The real reason they are doing the exclusive DirecTV deal has nothing to do with the money MLB can get up front from the broadcast companies.  But has everything to do with the fact that MLB plans to IPO MLBAM.  By doing this they hope to increase the subscribers to and drive up the price when they do the IPO.

In my opinion this is some pretty crappy fan relations.