Squeezing the cable companies, while the cable companies are bleeding would be counter productive to what they are probably trying to do here.
Cable is bleeding while that cable bill is getting higher, keep in mind that no content costs more than sports.
About 20 bucks of each cable bill goes to ESPN and Fox. Have you ever met that person who could care less about sports. That person pays 20 bucks a month for ESPN and Fox and never watches it. This makes it vulnerable. As the price of cable goes up... the cords get cut and eventually the cable companies are going to say to Fox... "We're out" and baseball (all sports) will lose access to this (getting smaller) yet still large and important audience.
There is no guarantee that digital is going to be there with a check to pick up the pieces when Fox and ESPN kills the traditional model with pure greed. The way people consume content is changing, behavior is changing and with that... the economic models must change along with it.
This is a smart move for Pohlad. It gives him control of his content. The landscape is changing fast and it's going to be tricky navigation ahead. WIth control they can help prop up cable while working simultaneously with increased digital.
The future is here and baseball will need to be everywhere... everybody is... just to roll with the changes.
I work for a communications company. I see first hand what is going on. For the third year in a row, the FCC is raising taxes on a "sports" addendum. This is a promotion/bailout, however you want to describe it for ESPN and Disney and the huge contracts they have with various sports contracts. If you've paid any attention at all to ESPN, you've seen changes in some programming, but mostly what you have seen, or read about, is changing their leadership and hosts to cut costs. And Brian is absolutely correct when he talks about the costs to TV providers regarding sports channels. For most channels, there is a fixed rate. But for ESPN, there has always been an escalated rate based on leadership that far exceeds the cost of any other channel. The "Mothership" is broken, and Disney is looking for help via taxation.
First of all, and I don't care if the Pohlad's are billionaires or not...ALL sports owners are so get over it...this is a business situation.
Secondly, anyone who can continue to bring sports broadcasting to the public without a single monopoly owning everything is a pretty good thing.
Thirdly this is NOT about the Twins directly. In the multi-billion dollar industry that is tele-communications, a Mauer contract not being spent is NOTHING. However, controlling interest in the wide expanse of the Fox market could open financial dollars for the Twins and their network. A network that has long been described as poor from a financial aspect.
If this comes to pass, it will have NO affect on the Twins whatsoever, other than possibly, a positive one.