Bud Selig is making 14.5 million dollars a year.
In case you passed out, let me say it again to make sure that you understand what I just said. BUD SELIG IS MAKING 14.5 MILLION DOLLARS A YEAR AS THE COMMISIONER OF BASEBALL. Not a bad gig, especially when you are terrible at it.
For those of you that live in a hole, Bud Selig engineered a deal with DirecTV last month that would give the satellite programmer exclusive rights to Major League's Extra Innings package. Not only that, but DirecTV would have an exclusivity agreement to carry the brand new MLB Network, that will begin programming in 2009, with the caveat that they will OWN 20% of the Network to MLB's 80%. In other words, big money for the satellite provider.
In doing so, Cable and DirecTV's direct competition, Dish Network would be left in the dark. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention the hundred's of thousands of fans that have received the Extra Inning's Package via one of the other services.
Before going any further, let's look at the thought process involved in making this move.
Bud Selig's thinking: I know how to maximize the baseball dollar! DirecTV comes to me with a 7-year, $700,000,000 deal, and we'll be just like football! We'll launch our MLB Service on DirecTV, then ultimately, be able to sell it to cable and Dish Network to include it in one of their special packages. Therefore, baseball and dish network will make a killing! Oh, and those that whine and moan about it HAVE to purchase the online service, which is $20 a month. Yeah, this is perfect!
Notice there was no concern about the fans.
I know what some of you are thinking. I'LL JUST GET THE LOCAL PACKAGE OF SPORTS PROGRAMMING CABLE AND DISH NETWORK OFFER. Hold the phone people. Baseball created an out of market rule years ago to help maximize their Extra Innings Package. This deal means that if you live outside a certain baseball market, you cannot receive the local telecast. Let me give you an example. Say you live in Erie, Pennsylvania, and have Sports Time Ohio in your cable package. You'll notice that as soon as the Indians' starts, you are blacked out. Why? Even though you are 90 miles away from Cleveland, and over 100 miles away from Pittsburgh, you are NOT in the local market, and therefore, can't receive the telecast. Not only that, but you can't receive tapes of telecasts. You know, when Sports Time Ohio plays repeats of great games in Tribe History, the blackout ALSO commences. Let's say, you decide to get a bit subversive, and get the dish network multi-sports package, thinking that's the $5.99 way around it. Read the above. Yeah, you get every sports package from every sports station around the country. Guess what. Blackout. You have to purchase the Extra Innings package.
Now you know your options if you live outside a market.
Wonderful isn't it!
I know, you want to use the internet to LISTEN to the game of your choice on the local radio station. Yeah, you guessed it. Blackout. You have to purchase THAT service through MLB as well.
Well, Mr. Selig, as always, didn't foresee the backlash that this would cause to the general public. After signing the deal, he realized his mistake when Congress and every media outlet began hammering the hell out of him and MLB.
Wait a second? Doesn't the NFL do the same thing? Yes. Here's the difference. The NFL did it from THE START! Nobody ever purchased one thing or another to GET the NFL network and NFL Season ticket. I know for a fact, that people have purchased cable or the Dish Network as a means to an end to get Extra Innings, since it's been an offering for the past three years at least. Now, there are literally hundreds of thousands of people that may be out of luck because they are tied to multi-year deals with either cable or DN. Wonderful.
Selig and MLB decided that they would allow both cable and Dish Network to match DirecTV's offer of 7 years and 700 million. It's believed both immediately said they WOULD match. Are you hearing this? This package could have been worth 7 years and 2.4 billion dollars to MLB. Yeah, I know, I checked the ratings as well. I can't believe it either. The catch? Both Cable and Dish Network wanted the same 20% take in the MLB Network. DirecTV, the final say in the matter, of course said no. MLB of course, said no, and the discussion continued.
Realize this. MLB is negotiating as we speak with cable for sure, and we all think, with Dish Network to get the Extra Innings package onto their networks. If MLB and the two other programming networks agree, the final say goes to DirecTV.
What do I believe? This is the OUT for MLB to tell the other two networks to go to hell, and come out being able to say, "We offered them an opportunity, and they screwed up."
As a matter of fact, most people are starting to say that.
THOSE would be the people I like to call sheep.
Sorry folks, but it's a joke. What Selig wants to happen is DirecTV to maintain as the exclusive holder of all that's baseball. Supply and Demand. There will be NO deal whatsoever, because he knows that DirecTV will never sign on the line onto THEIR COMPETITORS. UNLESS 2 things happen:
1. Congress really does drop the hammer on baseball (hard to do with football's season ticket package, even though it's obvious that the reasons I outline exist)
2. Dish Network and Cable come up with a ridiculous agreement, that now only allows MLB and DirecTV exlusive ownership (can you imagine Dish Network PAYING DirecTV for programming? I don't know about you, but this doesn't sound like good business to me), but comes with a money figure that dwarfs DirecTV's.
I don't see it happening.
Then I think about Bud Selig and his 14.5 million dollars a year.
And I just want to puke.