Monday, January 29, 2007

Michael Wilbon Clears Up the MLB/DirecTV Deal
Major League Baseball's Extra Innings package has been one of the joys of my life. Most every night during baseball season, the package gives you eight to ten games. You can watch ridiculous amounts of baseball, for something like $190. And I do. Well, I did.

It seems that MLB, in its zeal to squeeze every possible penny that it can out of its product, is making a deal with DirecTV, whereby you can only get Extra Innings if you have DirecTV. People like me, who live in crappy apartments without balconies, can't get DirecTV, because it involves a dish that has to be mounted somewhere. So millions of baseball fans, and me, are out of luck, and baseball owners will get a couple of million dollars extra a year, which will allow them to do stuff like further overpay sorry pitchers like Gil Meche and Jason Marquis. I guess the Nationals will use the money to, I don't know, further upgrade the quality of the concessions at RFK, since they don't like to spend money on stuff like players.

There has been a lot of outrage about this, and it was addressed in Michael Wilbon's chat today. Michael Wilbon is a pretty big deal these days, Disney/ESPN just signed him to a new contract for a zillion dollars, and he's going to be doing the NBA on ABC, as well as some NFL. Unlike his colleague Tony Kornheiser, he even finds time to write a newspaper column, and he regularly appears in a Washington Post chat, which is usually interesting, sometimes angry, and sometimes incomprehensible. Here's the exchange:

Dulles, Va.: Any comments on MLB's proposed sellout to DirecTV? As one of many in this region that root for a team out of the area -- Bronx Bombers all the way, this deal stinks. It's one more body shot to the loyal fan. Seven hundred million dollars is a lot to walk from, but maybe MLB will do something in the interest of the game, for once.

Michael Wilbon: You'll still be able to see the Nats locally. What are you talking about? You think because MLB goes exclusively to DirecTV people won't be able to see their teams locally? That's wrong. The NFL has an exclusive deal with DirecTV, Sunday Ticket, that is the model for the MLB agreement, I'm sure. But that doesn't mean you can't watch the Redskins locally. What those of us who have DirecTV can do is go to a bank of channels, say 765-775, and watch any game, every game. I'll pay something like $229 a year and be able to see every single game of the MLB schedule that isn't on national TV already...You need to find out more about what you'll be able to see over the air or on local cable...don't despair just yet. Now, if you don't get DirecTV and that MLB package you won't be able to see the Yankees or Cubs or Angels or Mariners...whatever...But you can't see them now anyway...

Uh, thanks, Michael, that makes me feel much better. I guess that kind of insight is why he's pulling in the big bucks.


3 comments:

cleavers44 said...

I was dumbfounded when I read that in his chat too. I guess Wilbon already gets Direct TV.

I'd be surprised if Boswell doesn't have more to say about it.

tadcranky said...

I think Wilbon needs an editor for his chats.

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