Extra Innings package only on DirecTV

Considering how many emails I’ve received about the Tigers radio broadcasts over the years, especially recently, I was surprised I didn’t see more in my inbox about Major League Baseball’s deal with DirecTV to show Extra Innings exclusively on their service. Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus put in his two cents about it the other day.

One thing I learned from last season is how surprisingly nationwide the Tigers fan base is. I’m guessing that many former Michiganders used the package to watch the Tigers, including some who can’t get satellite TV. How does this affect you? Even if it doesn’t, what’s your feeling on it?

For what it’s worth, I don’t have satellite TV where I live. So it affects me, but it’s not going to be a huge loss from a selfish standpoint. I used to subscribe through cable but gave that up last year and went with the MLB.TV package only, since I was traveling so much during the season that I wasn’t home watching enough games to justify it. It was an adjustment, but watching the games online turned out OK. I didn’t appreciate when they tried to show some HD broadcasts on a mis-sized screen, leaving the whole picture stretched out vertically, but that seemed to happen less often as the season went on. It’s not as quick switching from game to game, since the broadcast has to be buffered on the online player.

When everything works (and mind you, I’m somewhat biased here), it’s pretty good, and it was the way I kept up with the AL Central race down the stretch. I’m hoping they come up with a way to put the broadcasts in the corner of the screen and leave them on top of other applications so you can multi-task while you’re watching.

21 Comments

Tell me this doesn’t mean I will no longer be able to see the Tigers on my cable system.

Tell me, please…….that will still be able to get the MLB ticket, despite not having DirectTV.

Sheeeeeeeeeesh, my team finally represents, and after all those years of purchasing the games of a 100 loss team, I will no longer be able to see them??

Timing………everything in life is timing. And, mine stinks………..lol.

I considered posting this a couple days ago but was hoping for more information. Is this change slated for this season?

I had already switched from cable to DirecTV three weeks ago, so I lucked out. I had no idea this was in the works at the time. I’ve had Extra Innings for two and a half years and it wouldn’t be summer if there was no baseball on TV.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think this whole business stinks. I was already ticked off about cable companies controlling rights to entire regions and now this. Many people live in apartments and can’t put up a dish, so they just lose.

I was also subscribing to MLB.TV to pick up the games that Extra Innings didn’t carry. If you keep the picture small, it looks good. It deteriorates if you go full screen. A further problem with going MLB.TV only arose when my wife became a huge Tiger fan and wanted to see the games too. I solved this, as I’ve mentioned in the past, by hooking up a spare computer to my 42-inch plasma. The grainyness is still there, but the large screen helps rectify that.

When you say you can’t get DirecTV, I assume you mean you live somewhere like an apartment where dishes aren’t allowed? Other than that, I think you can get satellite anywhere you have an unobstructed view to the southern sky. If it’s possible, I’d just switch to DirecTV. I’ve had both satellite and cable, and they’re very similar in offerings and price, MLB and NFL notwithstanding.

Well, everyone is better off than me here in Japan. Can’t use MLB.TV, can’t get cable with Tigers’ games. The only hope over here is if the Tigers get a Japanese player. We get plenty of Yankees and Mariners…probably a lot of Red Sox this year.

I’m lucky to see one or two games…

Here in this part of West Michigan, I have to have XM just to listen to the games on radio. But it is great actually and you can hear every game, all season long. The only down side is that each game broadcasts the home team announcers only.

I live in Vermont and am already a Dish Network customer, so switching to DirecTV would be a pain. I prefer to listen to the games, though, because I can do other things at the same time. For the past couple of years, I’ve bought the MLB.com audio package and heard them there. This year I think I’m going to get XM, so I don’t have to be near a computer. The only games I get to watch are the nationally broadcast games or when we’re playing the Sox (on NESN). I’m hopeful that our success will mean more games on ESPN…

matt

I got DirectTV last year because my local cable system didn’t offer extra innings. I also got MLB.tv and agree with the other posts about the picture rules. I wish MLB would modify it’s blackout rules so that we could watch a Tigers game that is not shown local in Michigan. I ran into this last season where they black out MLB.tv as well, that’s frustrating.
On a side note, I read that Thames is being considered to play first base as well as outfield. What do you think of that?

I had the MLB.tv blackout problem when Detroit would play Baltimore. If the Baltimore TV local didn’t pick it up, I was out of luck since Extra Innings would be blacked out too. I think there are ways to get around the MLB.tv blackout, but I’ve never tried it. Of course, when the Tigers are in Baltimore, I usually am too.

Myself, I think giving Thames a shot at firstbase is a good idea. You have to let him learn the position, though, and not just stick him over there. It could give Marcus a whole new career.

I am downtown San Diego, in a condo(a one block walk to about twenty bars, twenty restaurants, and two Starbucks……..), on the 32nd floor.

The HOA looks down on dishes……..lol.

I will be VERY disappointed, if the Ticket is available only on Direct TV.

Nuthin’ better’n sittin’ on the balcony, sun setting over the Pacific, and watching my beloved Tigers. A warm summer breeze wafting over my environs, the city below coming to life(if you have never been to the Gaslamp district here in SD, it is worth the trip, trust me), me slowly sipping on a finger or two of good scotch.

My gawd………if no Tigers are on, my wife might actually expect me to get to that “honey-do” list………..

Things are NOT looking good.

to steve in japan: i live in taiwan.. i’m wondering why you can’t get the MLBTV program? I’m able to watch here. then again, mlb.com is pretty bad with customer service and response to problems… good luck! email me if u want to discuss…

I’m confused– what’s extra innings? I live in Washington DC and listened to the games on the MLB audio feed– love listening to the local announcers. For the past three years I used rabbit ears (yes, old school) and my wife finally convinced me to get Dish Network because I can get FSN Detroit. Will I be able to see Tigers games on that? If not, I’ll probably go with the XM option.

Extra Innings is the subscription package that allows you to watch most games around the league that are televised on a given night, kind of like the NFL’s Sunday Ticket package. Unfortunately, unless you live in the Tigers viewing area (Michigan and NW Ohio), you will not be able to see Tigers broadcasts on FSN Detroit, even if you get FSN Detroit on the dish.

Speaking of the NFL package, Jayson Stark has a blog entry pointing out why MLB’s decision to go to DirecTV doesn’t compare to what the NFL does. Unfortunately, you need a subscription to read it.

Man- I feel really stupid now. I guess I’ll have to get XM or get used to listening to the games on my computer again. Bummer.

Brent, switch it to DirecTV if you can. I think the only difference is the upfront cost.

I once thought that those FSN channels would show games and they do show basketball and hockey. Not baseball, it seems. Wonder why that is?

BTW, I’m about 40 miles away from you. I was able to cop a season ticket share to see the Tigers in DC in June. Prime seats.

–Rich

This is very disappointing. I just lost my ability to see any games from Northern California. Watching on the computer is nowhere near the same.

I also am screwed by this deal. I live in Chicago and have cable. This is the way I watch the Tigers (except when they play the White Sox and I’m stick listening to those idiots DJ and Hawk). I live in the city and satellite just isn’t an option. Of course this happens once the Tigers become good and watching is much more enjoyable. I also had the MLBTV last year and it was okay for when I was traveling, but it’s just not the same. I know that I’m not going to watch as many games on my computer as I did on TV. Not as enjoyable because the quality isn’t as good, let alone the tiny screen size in comparison. ARGH!

The more of these comments I read, the more ticked off I get at MLB. Obviously, the bottom line is more money to be made, but this is where the commissioner needs to be a commissioner. Can you imagine Judge Landis letting this one slide by? Come on Selig, show some gumption.

It looks like ya’ll aren’t the only ones upset about the move…. http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/26/sports/baseball/26sandomir.html?_r=1&ref=baseball&oref=slogin

Below I have pasted an explanation of what went down, derived from another source:

“The ‘Cable’ industry offered MLB $70 million for the package. This would not have been an exclusivity deal, everything would remain status quo with any group being able to buy into it.

DirectTV countered with $85 million for the exclusive rights to the package.

MLB went back to the cable people and told them this. Cable said, the $70 million offer stands, the difference of $15 million you can make up with selling to DishNetwork and DirectTV.

MLB asked the cable executives to carry their new MLB Network which will debut 3 years from now. The Cable executives said they would, but only as part of a digital sports package, not as a ‘basic’ channel.

MLB went back to DirectTV and asked them to do the same. DirectTV said they would make it a part of their ‘Total Choice’ package, which is their basic one, if MLB gave them exlusive rights to everything.

MLB agreed to this deal.

In 2006, 750k people ordered the Extra Innings package.

200-300 of those came from DirectTV.

The rest (450-550k) came from DishNetwork and the various cable providers.

MLB has announced that for their online MLB.TV programming, they are increasing the quality from 350k to 700k stream, something they ‘had in the works for 2 years now’.

The Direct TV deal was, in essence, an increase of $30 million over what MLB would have gotten just from taking the Cable deal alone (after it was renegotiated to about $100 million). That is roughly an increase of $1 million per MLB team in increased revenue by taking the DirectTV deal. Many believe DirectTV would have still offered somewhere around $50 million or more to get the rights to broadcast it had MLB not given them the exclusivity.

That would have been anywhere from $120 million+ without adding DishNetwork.

The sticking point turned out to be the MLB Network, which has literally nothing executive wise other than this deal. It wasn’t like Cable wasn’t going to carry it, they were just going to offer it with ESPN Classic, NBATV and NFL Network.

Really makes you scratch your head as to why MLB seemingly turned down more money and angered 400k+ hardcore MLB fans just to have the MLB Network a ‘basic channel’ on one provider.”

End of quote. Only positive note here is the attempt to improve quality of MLB.tv.

I am a Yankees fan, but was searching for blogs on the direct tv deal and found this. I first heard about the deal by a caller on xm last week. Once I got home I frantically searched the computer for more information, but was unsuccessful. I went on MLB’s website and sent them an e-mail expressing how hurt and saddened I was to hear how they chose money over their fans. Of course, I am still waiting to hear back from them. I feel like there has to be something more fans can do to let MLB know how they feel about this deal. In my family alone we had three people buying the package last year. I have heard about some politicians getting involved and trying to fight this deal. Besides that what can normal, everyday people do to have MLB hear us and hear how wrong this is? Thank you for letting me vent
-Stacey

Hi Stacey. Welcome to our blog, even if only temporarily.

IMO, part of the problem is that the EI package is geared towards us “displaced” fans, who probably make up a small part of the total MLB audience. As an example, the Tigers announced a few days ago that this year’s local TV package would include nearly every game played. That’s great for the locals, but doesn’t help our group. I just have to wonder if the total viewership of EI is enough for MLB to take it more seriously than the dollar amount they stand to make from this DirecTV deal.

When you said you e-mailed MLB and said “Of course, I am still waiting to hear back from them”, I thought that spoke volumes of where we average fans think we fit onto the totem pole of MLB.

Regarding what normal, everyday people can do, I’ve always understood that the best way to get someone’s attention is with a personally handwritten letter. Good targets for these letters would be Bud Selig and your own congressman. I would guess that if any politicians are indeed getting involved, it would be in response to this kind of correspondence from their constituents.

I hope this business has a happier ending than what we seem to be heading for at the present time.

Thanks for the reply. After reading it I did some searching and found a website that has a petition started. I don’t know if it will do anything, but for now it’s all I found. Please pass it on and maybe we can get the 5000 signatures they are aiming for.

http://www.petitionspot.com/petitions/mlb

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