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Thread: Article: MLB's Territorial TV Rights Challenged

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaderic20 View Post
    I live in Des Moines, and I remember a few years back I emailed both my cable provider (Mediacom) and MLB every single day for a few months, until both of them told me that they would no longer acknowledge any future requests from me. I also got into a brief twitter spat with the president of MLBAM until he blocked me.
    The lesson I've taken from this is that none of them give a rat's ass what we think or want. And if we get too annoying, they just ignore us, and won't change a thing. So I've resigned myself to Gameday Audio for most games, and less-than-legal methods of watching games of particular interest.
    Can you drop Mediacom and go satellite?

    Honestly, it's hard to blame Mediacom in this situation. Iowa's pro sports allegiances are at best divided (and probably somewhat tenuous to any single team), so it may not make financial sense for them to pay for FSN, even as an extra tier of service (particularly if FSN isn't offering Mediacom a very good deal). Satellite companies are much better situated to deal with those fractured niche audiences, and the cost should be comparable to cable, no?

    MLB and FSN are far more culpable -- if Iowa fandom is so divided and tenuous, it probably shouldn't be on 6 teams blackout lists. But the availability (and cost similarity) of satellite vs cable seems to mitigate most of that, even if it's not the most convenient and cost effective solution (MLB.tv).

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    Willihammer (04-04-2014)

  3. #22
    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Is it really that unfair? Yeah, it would be better (and more logical) if cable providers could at least offer the "local" RSN for purchase, but that's about the extent of the unfairness.

    Satellite sports packages (including all of your "local" RSNs) are ~$12 extra per month if you are a satellite subscriber and don't already receive FSN. Just eyeballed Dish Network and the regular price of their standard package plus the sports add-on is $70 per month. Doesn't that compare to cable? If you are worried about losing your bundle discount with cable+internet, there are DSL+satellite bundles just about everywhere now too.
    .
    This is the route I had to take, which actually makes being in Iowa nice b/c I can watch games from 5 other teams as well.

  4. #23
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    On the flip side as an Iowan, I have DISH with the all sports package and I get all 6 "home" teams and can watch the rest on my ipad

  5. #24
    Senior Member All-Star JB_Iowa's Avatar
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    Also, if you switch to satellite, remember they almost always offer a deal. And, at least in the case of Dish Network, if your deal expires and you call and whine that they are only giving deals to new customers (and threaten to switch providers), they will almost always give you some new deal. The last time this happened to me, they gave me about $20/mo off and I didn't even have to sign up again for a certain time period.

    It is all such a racquet but it is one area where I've found price haggling to be effective.

  6. #25
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    I live in south-central Iowa and we get FSN through Dish Network. However, I go to Iowa State and I don't get a choice of what cable channels I get at my apartment. It sucks that I can't watch the Twins through MLB.tv. I would gladly use MLB.tv to watch many other MLB games too, but there is no point in buying it if I can't watch the Twins. I just find a place on the internet to stream it.

  7. #26
    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    Can you drop Mediacom and go satellite?
    I could, but the point is if I'm considered part of the "home" market for a team, in my opinion I shouldn't have to change providers and buy a separate sports package on top of that just to get my "home" team.

    I've actually since dropped my cable subscription anyway and watch all my TV via my Roku. Which, if it weren't for the ridiculous blackout restrictions in Iowa, I would gladly pay for MLB.TV, install that channel, and watch games that way.

    So, in my case, MLB, the Twins, FSN, and Mediacom have all lost my money because of the blackout restrictions.

  8. #27
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    One plus for MLB.tv on Roku - the free game of the day. If you just want to watch a ballgame and aren't particular about which one it's terrific. If the free game is a Twins game I have to wait but I can still watch it after it is over.

  9. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by chaderic20 View Post
    I could, but the point is if I'm considered part of the "home" market for a team, in my opinion I shouldn't have to change providers and buy a separate sports package on top of that just to get my "home" team.
    Does a particular sports channel have a natural right to exist on ALL TV providers? And on basic tier TV service? Has it ever been easier and less expensive for a viewer in Iowa to get every Twins game on TV? I'm sorry, but this is sounding more like a minor inconvenience than any kind of corporate injustice.

    Quote Originally Posted by chaderic20 View Post
    I've actually since dropped my cable subscription anyway and watch all my TV via my Roku. Which, if it weren't for the ridiculous blackout restrictions in Iowa, I would gladly pay for MLB.TV, install that channel, and watch games that way.

    So, in my case, MLB, the Twins, FSN, and Mediacom have all lost my money because of the blackout restrictions.
    So to get your business, at $130/year, these entities should risk losing current cable and satellite customers paying $840+ per year? A la carte entertainment is awesome, but it just doesn't make a lot of business sense for sports leagues right now.

    Iowa is kind of a tricky place. It's far enough away from Minneapolis that it's probably not a sound business decision for cable companies to pony up for FSN, nor does it make sense for FSN to try adding a few viewers at that distance with discount pricing. But it's close enough that what fans are there, they can probably be considered strong fans and are likely to attend a few games and subscribe to a national satellite provider to watch the games, and really shouldn't be offered or relegated to streaming-only options (which are more for league fans, travelers, "snow birds" etc.).

  10. #29
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    Let me add that I'm a cord-cutting radio listener by habit anyway. The occasional TV game is fun, but I don't think I'd really watch it enough to justify an MLB.tv purchase, much less cable/satellite.

  11. #30
    Quote Originally Posted by spycake View Post
    So to get your business, at $130/year, these entities should risk losing current cable and satellite customers paying $840+ per year? A la carte entertainment is awesome, but it just doesn't make a lot of business sense for sports leagues right now.
    Well, the risk they take in trying to force people into paying $840+ per year is that people like me will say it's not worth that much, and then they get $0. I'm sure they have lots of people much smarter than me though who have studied where that price point is where enough people say it is worth it. But for me, it's not.

  12. #31
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    If you wouldn't blame a duck for quacking, then you really shouldn't blame an MBA for trying to increase their revenue stream every way available to them. There's nothing nefarious going on. The anti-trust exemption awarded to MLB in the 20's was the result of the brethren being convinced of two things: ML baseball was somehow essential to the well being of the US and, ML baseball could not survive without the exemption. From my perspective, the validity of both things today could be successfully argued against. In any event, it won't change until our busy legislators are alerted by a focus group.

    Wait, did I just say that last part out loud?

  13. #32
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    The problem is that cable companies are a dying business model. They are willing to spend silly money for exclusive broadcast rights because that is one of the big reasons that people are going to subscribe to cable TV. They will do everything they can to make it inconvenient to watch your home (or regional) team on anything but their service.

    Despite these mega contracts things are going to be considerably different in the next decade.

    IIRC South Korea and Japan used to blackout mlb.tv because their pro leagues were 'concerned' about losing fans to the MLB. Of course MLB games are played at breakfast while the pro leagues played in the evening. This changed 4-5 years I think but it never affected me since I live in Taiwan.

  14. #33
    Nice article and I'm glad the law geeks are fighting this but they are going up against a gorilla. I hope they are successful as cable and satellite basically have a legal monopoly thanks to Congress. I would have no use for cable or satellite if they succeed.

  15. #34
    Senior Member All-Star Shane Wahl's Avatar
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    Does anyone have that map showing the baseball territory for each team?

  16. #35
    Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
    Does anyone have that map showing the baseball territory for each team?
    Here's a link to it: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/mlb-b...in-the-courts/

  17. #36
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    What do we know about the plaintiffs? Will they take this to trail or at least a happy outcome? Or are they in it for a settlement.

  18. #37
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    Even more infuriating is Fox Saturday baseball. If St. Louis or the Cubs are on, good luck ever seeing the Twins game. Logic would dictate that since channels are digital you could put the Twins game on 17-2 since it would be considered in market. Radio stations are bit spotty as well, best coverage in my area come from 570 am out of South Dakota, fine during the day but there was a real lack of options are night.

  19. #38
    MLB.tv no longer uses the billing zip code from credit cards, but checks each viewer's IP address for their location when the request to start streaming a game comes in to determine which blackout restrictions apply.

    If you're tech savvy enough to set up your own proxy server for your home network, you can get around MLB.tv's restrictions so they won't apply to Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire, etc.

    For a simpler solution, there are browser extensions like Stealthy that are more user friendly (and I believe also exist for smartphones and tablets).

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  21. #39
    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    I'm currently midway through a 7 day free trial with unblock-us. Very slick service with a really straightforward tutorial. I plan to pay the $5/mo to keep it going.

  22. #40
    I think there will, eventually, be economic incentive for MLB to offer their product free of blackout restrictions and regional sports networks, but it is years away and dependent on the balance of viewership between cable and the internet.

    In 2012, eight percent of US households had broadband internet but not a cable or satellite television subscription. That figure rose to nine percent in 2013. More encouraging, over half of households with broadband internet now have at least one television connected to the internet.

    As more and more entertainment is offered on demand, sports become increasingly desirable for advertisers as people have more of an incentive to sit through commercials in order to watch games live. Eventually, however many years from now, when the balance of viewership tips in the internet's favor, it will make financial sense for MLB to ditch selling their broadcast rights to regional networks in favor of producing their own broadcasts and collecting advertising revenue directly.

    Netflix and Hulu now both produce their own original content (as opposed to simply being online distributors), and HBO is testing internet-only subscriptions in Scandinavia. Slowly, à la carte internet programming is coming.

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