Back when I was attending the University of Southern California & North Carolina at Chapel Hill, my biggest annoyance was not receiving Boston Red Sox games in my dorm. Of course, I could have sprung for the Extra Innings package, but I was in college…I didn’t have that kind of money to spend on TV! Now, if Major League Baseball and DirectTV had their way, I may not have been able to watch Sox games no matter how much money I had. According to Tracy Schoenadel of Sports Biz Buzz, a blog for the Center for Spectator Sport Research at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts revolving around sports marketing, the MLB and DirectTV agreed to a deal worth $700 million to have DirectTV be the exclusive provider of the Extra Innings package.
The comments at Tracy’s blog and her post point out that it would have been a bad move for MLB as it would have alienated a whole lot of their fans who don’t have access to DirectTV. I have to agree with Tracy and her readers; a lot of Red Sox Nation is spread out all over the country and would be quite upset without access to their Sox! I’ve met Red Sox fans everywhere, I’ve traveled to and we’re a very devout bunch. Luckily, the MLB and DirectTV agreed to allow cable subscribers to purchase the Extra Innings package too.
Can you imagine if the NFL limited access to out of market games to people who had a certain provider? Imagine the outrage when NFL fans flipped to the Game of the Week only to be greeted with a giant lock symbol. One day, we’ll be able to pick which games we want to watch no matter where we live, even without a sports package. Until then though, I hope the four major sports keep exclusivity out of deals with providers.
I’m still peeved that the NFL gave a exclusive contract to EA Sports and thus ruined Sega’s football video games. To this day, the last football video game Sega put out, NFL 2K5, is the best on the market. Of course I still watch NFL games on TV but I have not and most likely will not buy any more football video games. So whether you’re the MLB, NFL, Apple or even a non-profit organization, remember, alienating your fans is a very, very bad idea.