Deal Includes Launch of The MLB Channel, Carriage Rights to MLB
EXTRA INNINGS Package
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 8, 2007--Major League Baseball
and DIRECTV, the nation's leading satellite provider, today announced
a seven-year agreement that continues carriage rights to the MLB EXTRA
INNINGS subscription package of out-of-market games and includes the
launch of the MLB Channel as part of DIRECTV's basic package. Included
within the agreement, DIRECTV will be a minority partner in the MLB
Channel, and will work with MLB to develop the network, which will
launch in 2009.
Additionally, in keeping with MLB's desire to provide as much MLB
programming to as many baseball fans as possible, MLB and DIRECTV have
agreed to include a provision that allows MLB EXTRA INNINGS to be
offered to other incumbents - In Demand and DISH Network - at
consistent rates and carriage requirements with a deal to be concluded
before the baseball season begins. The provision also requires the
incumbents to agree to carriage rights to the MLB Channel
proportionally equivalent to DIRECTV's commitment. Should the
incumbents decide not to match DIRECTV's commitment, the MLB EXTRA
INNINGS package will be exclusive to DIRECTV. All out of market games
continue to be available on MLB.com.
"With the advent of The MLB Channel, our new agreement with
DIRECTV will result in more MLB programming being available to more
fans than ever before," said Major League Baseball President Bob
DuPuy. "The deal complements our deals with FOX, Turner and ESPN for
network game coverage and furthers MLB's initiative to continue to
enhance fans' viewing experience and reinvigorate our telecasts with
unique and innovative features."
"Just as we did with NFL SUNDAY TICKET and NASCAR HOTPASS, DIRECTV
will invest millions of dollars to deliver a spectacular fan
experience," said Chase Carey, President and CEO of DIRECTV. "DIRECTV
will offer more games in HD and apply its award-winning technology to
MLB EXTRA INNINGS broadcasts on an unprecedented scale, taking fans
deeper inside the game than ever before."
DIRECTV, continuing its 10-year relationship with MLB and its fans
by providing MLB EXTRA INNINGS, will bring new innovations that will
enhance the fan experience. The MLB Channel will be the first and only
network dedicated to providing baseball programming to MLB fans 24
hours a day, seven days a week on a year-round basis.
DIRECTV will expand the MLB EXTRA INNINGS options to include a
game mosaic channel, a Strike Zone Channel that takes viewers to live
cut-ins of MLB games in progress at key points; detailed player and
team stats, real-time scores and live updates from other games; and
other innovations that complement the sport of baseball, entertain
viewers and provide fans with a great entertainment value. Beginning
in 2008, DIRECTV will provide most, if not all, of the package in High
Major League Baseball will continue to make available more games
by far than any other sport on national and local over-the-air
broadcast, basic cable, and satellite. On average, approximately 400
game telecasts are available in each market every season. Fans will
continue to be able to watch their home club's games in their home
markets. This agreement will not affect MLB's national agreements with
FOX, TBS, and ESPN, nor does local game telecasts.
The MLB Channel will launch in 2009 on DIRECTV, ensuring that the
Channel is immediately available as part of DIRECTV's basic service.
DIRECTV's commitment to carry the Channel as a basic service to more
than 15 million homes was a major factor in the long-term agreement
between the provider and MLB.
"We are quite pleased with the commitment DIRECTV has made to MLB
and our fans, and in the coming weeks will continue our efforts to
secure corresponding commitments from our incumbent distributors,"
said Tim Brosnan, Executive Vice President/Business, Major League
Last year, more than half of the subscribers of MLB EXTRA INNINGS
were DIRECTV customers. MLB.TV, MLB's broadband package, will continue
to be available to all consumers through the Major League Baseball
website, www.mlb.com, offering upgraded picture quality this season.
About DIRECTV, Inc.
DIRECTV, Inc., the nation's leading satellite television service
provider, presents the finest television experience available to more
than 16 million customers in the United States, through exclusive
content, industry-leading customer service (which has surpassed cable
for six years running) and superior technologies. Each day, DIRECTV
subscribers enjoy over 250 channels of 100% digital picture and sound;
exclusive programming and the most comprehensive collection of sports
programming available anywhere including NFL SUNDAY TICKET(TM), and
MLB EXTRA INNINGS(TM). DIRECTV (NYSE:DTV) also leads the digital
television technology revolution with exclusives such as NFL SUNDAY
TICKET SuperFan(TM), US Open Interactive and YES Network Interactive
and will soon have the capacity to offer over 150 channels in HD. For
the most up-to-date information on the Company, please visit
Darris Gringeri, 212-462-5136
Robert Mercer, 310-964-4683
Major League Baseball
Richard Levin, Patrick Courtney or Susan Goodenow
SOURCE: DIRECTV, Inc.