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MLB Signs Cable Deal for "Extra Innings"



Three days into "extra innings" Major League Baseball came to a seven-year agreement with iN DEMAND to have the cable provider offer its Extra Innings package to cable operators across the country.

The deal, which had already been inked by DirecTV, ends months of acrimony and gives baseball fans the opportunity to renew the package with their local operators rather than switch to the satellite provider. EchoStar Satellite LLC is the lone entity that still hasn't come to an agreement.

Those cable operators that agree to carry the product would also be required to offer the new MLB Channel on its basic tier when it is launched in 2009.

"Our chief goal throughout the process was to ensure that fans would have access to as many baseball games and as much baseball coverage as possible," Bob DuPuy, MLB's president and chief operating officer, said in a release. "With this agreement, the MLB Channel will launch with an unprecedented platform. We are pleased with the launch of the MLB Channel to so many homes coupled with our agreement to extend the distribution of MLB Extra Innings with iN DEMAND."

MLB and iN DEMAND had been put under increasing pressure from Congress to come to an agreement so that fans without satellite access would still able to view out-of-market games. When the DirecTV deal was announced on Feb. 8, MLB set a deadline of Opening Night this past Sunday for iN DEMAND and EchoStar to match the same terms.

But that deadline was extended Sunday as the parties continued to negotiate.

DirecTV agreed last month to carry the package for seven years and took a 20 percent stake in the MLB Channel, which will be offered on its basic tier beginning in 2009. DirecTV had agreed to pay $700 million for that exclusivity, but that deal will be structured for less money since the satellite provider has lost its exclusivity.

A cable provider, iN DEMAND offers its products to systems around the country such as Cox, Time-Warner, Comcast and Cablevision.

Chase Carey, president and chief executive of DirecTV, said last month that the deal would work for his company "on either front."

"You're asking what would I prefer between the two?" Carey said. "Exclusivity would probably have been the preferred path. But we've reached an accommodation that would work either way for us."

MLB.TV is also again offering its package of out-of-market games via the Internet.

Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Saw this last night.

Great news as I'll be getting the package again this year.

Key part in this is now it will be offered to ALL cable companies and not just the iN DEMAND ones as was the case in the past.  This is a good deal for fans as almost all the carriers will have access to the packages.

Football needs to do this as well...

You're reading my mind. How football doesn't do this is beyond me. I wonder if the contract they
have with Direct TV is flexible like the MLB one apparently is.

How much is cable version of Extra Innings?

Free preview starts today but I don't see anything on now.

$159 right now I believe.

Braves-Phillies, Sox-Royals, and a couple others should be on. 

White Sox- Indians also.

My only problem is we are moving soon.  When I move I believe i'll be moving from Brighthouse to another cable provider.  I'd hate to drop $159 and then it not transfer to the new provider.  

I guess I better ask before I purchase....

Those games should be on for the free preview (4/5-4/8). But they're not. At least not
on my Time Warner system.


They are on here, I have brighthouse.

I found them. They were on the NHL channels.

What basketball does is you buy the cable package and if you're out of town, you can
watch online. It's a two for one deal. Wish they all did that. Maybe they will eventually.


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