I’m beating Major League Baseball’s anti-fan deal with DirecTV repeatedly, but it keeps providing fodder.
In Demand president Rob Jacobson, whose company is owned by affiliates of the companies that own Time Warner, Comcast and Cox cable systems, offered to carry the package on the same terms that DirecTV is for the next two seasons while putting off the issue of The Baseball Channel until it launches.
“This would ensure that for the next two years at least, all baseball fans would have access to the `Extra Innings’ package,” he said. “If we’re unable to reach an agreement when the channel launches, we’d give baseball the right to cancel the `Extra Innings’ deal. We think this is a fair compromise.”
[Sen. John] Kerry, trying to play the role of mediator, got behind the effort.
“What’s the matter with that?” he asked Bob DuPuy, baseball’s chief operating officer.
That’s a valid question, but only coming from a fan. [And I’m asking it: what’s the matter with that? – ed.] Congress, in its official duties, should not be determining the specifics of business deals in the private market. I know baseball and television aren’t fully private markets the way a corner store and a candy producer would be, but they should be.
“When fans react, Congress reacts,” [Sen. Arlen] Specter said. “You may be well advised to act before we do.”
Sen. Specter’s first statement is wrong because it amounts to nothing more than mob rule. He’s parading it as democracy, but we’re talking about the same beast. I’m angry about the deal. Still, it’s not something I expect my congressman to address. Sen. Specter’s concern may be correct. His actions are not.
Which gets to his second sentence. Stop threatening. Act or shut up. I’ve already stated that Major League Baseball should not have antitrust exemption. As long as it exists, though, dictate. That way everyone understands the true nature of the deal. Instead, we get blabber about the interests of consumers until someone inevitably steps up with cash or politicians back down without dignity. It’s tiresome.
I still hold out hope that a deal will get done. I can’t fight the fear that Major League Baseball only offered the Extra Innings deal to cable and Dish Network as a front to later pass blame on an outside party for not meeting the terms. I despise Bud Selig.
Informed, educational thoughts on antitrust absurdity at A Stitch in Haste.