We are not against corporations, inherently; we spend most of our days enjoying products of the Coca-Cola Company and the Philip Morris Corporation, and if they do an excellent job mass-producing consumables that we keep on buying, hey, that's the American way. But as a serious sports fan, there might be no corporation that's causing us more headache than DirectTV.
It was one thing when DirectTV, in a desperate attempt to justify its own existence, bought out the rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, making it impossible for anyone unable to install the dish network — or unwilling, if you're one of those people like us who uses digital cable for both television and the Internets, making DirectTV entirely unnecessary and cumbersome — watch out-of-town games without wedging into a crowded bar with a bunch of screaming people. It's annoying that they do that, but that's just Sunday, after all; just one day.
But now, they're taking away MLB Extra Innings. If you don't have DirectTV this year (or for the next seven years), you're not going to be able to order the MLB Extra Innings package, because DirectTV just paid $700 million for exclusive rights over the next seven years. It will also be the exclusive home to a 24-hour baseball channel.
Currently, 75 million people had the opportunity to purchase Extra Innings; 750,000 took them up on it, including us. Now, both those numbers will be dramatically decreased (including us). Remember, there are still millions of houses in this country that couldn't install DirectTV if they wanted to. There are millions more who see DirectTV for what it is, an inferior service with poor broadband selection, terrible customer service and technology that'll be outdated halfway through that baseball contract. Because of this deal, there will be fewer people watching baseball next year.
You really shouldn't have wondered, but if you did, here's more proof: Major League Baseball will do anything for a short-term dollar, even sell out its most devoted fans. You knew this, of course.
Extra Innings Exclusively On Direct TV [New York Times]