Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Dark Side of Booming Local TV Deals

But who wants to watch Astros games anyway?

It turns out that big local TV contracts aren’t always good news for teams either. That has turned Selig’s mood quite sour.

When a regional sports network agrees to pay millions of dollars to an MLB team, that RSN has two principal ways to recoup that investment: (1) sell ads during the game broadcasts; (2) charge a carriage fee to the cable and satellite operators in the region who want to carry the RSN. But what happens when the cable and satellite companies balk at the carriage fees?...

Comcast SportsNet Houston launched in October 2012 and, since then, has been seen only by Comcast cable customers. The new RSN – a joint venture among the Houston Astros, Houston Rockets and Comcast Sports Group — couldn’t come to agreement on carriage fees with any other cable or satellite company in the region. With the RSN bleeding cash, Comcast forced the venture into bankruptcy court last September, where the parties have been fighting ever since. Astros owner Jim Crane also sued Comcast and former team owner Drayton McLane for fraud in the sale of the team. That did not make Bud Selig happy at all.

That brings us to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As I explained before the season started:

SportsNet LA launched in February with around-the-clock Dodgers programming, but only customers with TWC or Bright House can view the network in their homes.Every other cable and satellite operator in the Los Angeles market has balked at the network’s carriage fee demand. And TWC hardly counts as an arms-length agreement, as it is the Dodgers’ broadcast partner in SportsNet LA. Indeed, TWC will essentially pay itself the carriage fee for SportsNet LA, and then pay the Dodgers their monthly rights fee as part of the 25-year, $8.3 billion megadeal.

No deal’s been reached. A vast majority of Dodgers fans in LA missed Josh Beckett’s no-hitter, Clayton Kershaw’s no-hitter and every Yasiel Puig bat flip — unless they watched with a friend or at a bar with TWC. Even Vin Scully is without Dodgers’ broadcasts when he’s at home during the team’s long road trips.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: July 31, 2014 at 07:50 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: astros, dodgers, nationals, orioles, padres, television, tv contracts

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 01, 2014 at 06:46 AM (#4762340)
interesting article
   2. Bote Man makes baseball fun again Posted: August 01, 2014 at 08:13 AM (#4762349)
So the gist is that Hizzonerforlife Bud has built this ticking time bomb, with he and everyone else smiling at all the money washing through baseball land. But as retail entertainment operators and even their customers balk at paying the ever-increasing fees, I wonder if after his (anticipated) departure things start to go "BOING!" in certain TV markets around the country?
   3. Dale Sams Posted: August 01, 2014 at 09:10 AM (#4762362)
"Baseball goes BOING?"
   4. Jefferson Manship (Dan Lee) Posted: August 01, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4762364)
Baseball’s commissioner told Pittsburgh Pirates broadcasters that he got “goosebumps” watching the Reds and Pirates square off in last year’s postseason.
Yeah, it was totally wild watching the Reds play in the postseason. I mean, they'd missed the playoffs once in the previous four years.
   5. bobm Posted: August 01, 2014 at 09:22 AM (#4762368)
I assume teams still make these deals for an equity stake in the TV network because, unlike the rights fees, their share of the carriage fees get shielded from revenue sharing. The teams listed in this story all have widely varying stakes in their RSN as a percentage of the total ownership.
   6. Howie Menckel Posted: August 01, 2014 at 10:08 AM (#4762388)

The Yankees' 2002 season on the fledgling YES Network did not appear on Cablevision, at a time when satellite TV was far less prevalent, to the chagrin of Long Island and North Jersey among other places. same sort of "balking at the price of showing the games."
   7. Bhaakon Posted: August 01, 2014 at 10:58 AM (#4762429)

So the gist is that Hizzonerforlife Bud has built this ticking time bomb, with he and everyone else smiling at all the money washing through baseball land. But as retail entertainment operators and even their customers balk at paying the ever-increasing fees, I wonder if after his (anticipated) departure things start to go "BOING!" in certain TV markets around the country?


That fool, he should have ordered the teams to pass on those poisonous billions.
   8. Empathy, I Promise You (SBB) Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:01 AM (#4762431)
Cable prices and carriage fees are a bubble that will pop. They can't last.
   9. DL from MN Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4762440)
Is MLB.tv killing some of these cable deals? I get a free game every day and that is plenty of baseball for me. I'm not bothered that I can't watch the local team.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:21 AM (#4762447)

Is MLB.tv killing some of these cable deals? I get a free game every day and that is plenty of baseball for me. I'm not bothered that I can't watch the local team.


I'm guessing that is only being purchased by hard-core fans. Most casual fans are content to watch the local nine on their RSN.
   11. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: August 01, 2014 at 11:23 AM (#4762449)
Cable prices and carriage fees are a bubble that will pop. They can't last.
I don't think you understand what a bubble is.
   12. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: August 01, 2014 at 12:06 PM (#4762487)
woops.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
Darren
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogWhy the Baltimore Orioles' outstanding closer should not win the Cy Young | FOX Sports
(15 - 9:25pm, Aug 26)
Last: ReggieThomasLives

NewsblogOTP 2016 August 22: Baseball has much to teach us about politics
(876 - 9:21pm, Aug 26)
Last: Morty Causa

NewsblogOMNICHATTER 8-25-16
(127 - 9:16pm, Aug 26)
Last: PASTE Transcends Almost All Generations (Zeth)

NewsblogBaseball’s minor leaguers pursue their dreams below the poverty line - The Washington Post
(3 - 8:53pm, Aug 26)
Last: PASTE Transcends Almost All Generations (Zeth)

NewsblogRangers pitcher Jeremy Jeffress arrested, records show
(26 - 8:25pm, Aug 26)
Last: Tin Angel

Newsblog2016 New York City Softball Game
(439 - 8:17pm, Aug 26)
Last: Hysterical & Useless

NewsblogVotto ‘reaches out’ to Mays, Musial, Jeter
(9 - 8:08pm, Aug 26)
Last: DavidFoss

NewsblogJeff Francoeur is Still Employed by a Major League Team
(19 - 7:56pm, Aug 26)
Last: toratoratora

NewsblogDodgers land Ruiz from Phillies | dodgers.com
(42 - 7:40pm, Aug 26)
Last: Gold Star - just Gold Star

Sox TherapyIt Gets Easier...But Not Easy
(5 - 7:33pm, Aug 26)
Last: SY Ruined School Lunches!

NewsblogShelby Miller’s demotion likely to delay free agency
(10 - 7:12pm, Aug 26)
Last: shoewizard

NewsblogWhite Sox GM Rick Hahn says talk of trade-deadline discord 'simply untrue'
(18 - 7:09pm, Aug 26)
Last: McCoy

NewsblogThe Kansas City Royals will miss the MLB playoffs; they have too much ground to make up | The Kansas City Star
(48 - 6:43pm, Aug 26)
Last: Davo's Favorite Tacos Are Moose Tacos

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 8-26-2016
(6 - 6:28pm, Aug 26)
Last: Batman

NewsblogFormer Cy Young winner Éric Gagné signs with the Ottawa Champions
(3 - 3:24pm, Aug 26)
Last: Batman

Page rendered in 0.1503 seconds
47 querie(s) executed