MLB Extra Innings
MLB Extra Innings is an Out-of-Market Sports Package distributed in North America by satellite provider DirecTV since 1996 and by most cable providers since 2001. The package allows its subscribers to see up to 80 out-of-market Major League Baseball games a week using local over the air stations and regional sports networks. Dish Network offered the package from 2004–2006 but as of January 2013, Dish was still not offering MLB Extra Innings. Despite the status, the satellite provider began carrying the MLB Network on September 1, 2011.
As of the 2008 season, the feeds from both teams' broadcasts are available for each game on DirecTV, even if a team is showing the game locally on a broadcast station. Even though the package relies on satellite uplink paths, DirecTV also carries feeds from local broadcast and even cable-only networks as well, such as CSN Philadelphia for the Philadelphia Phillies. Feeds that are not included on the DirecTV version of Extra Innings include KCAL (Dodgers), KCOP-TV (Angels), KNTV (Giants), and WCIU (Cubs and White Sox) unless that is your local area.
The iN DEMAND version of Extra Innings added the "dual feed" system for select broadcasts after the 2008 MLB All-Star Game. Along with this, the iN DEMAND version of MLB Extra Innings has been able to add broadcast television stations, WKYC (Indians), WWOR-TV (Yankees), WJZ-TV (Orioles), WUSA (Nationals), WPIX (Mets), WPHL-TV (Phillies), and, and in addition, one Canadian RSN, the Toronto Blue Jays' Rogers Sports Net feed. Previously, only one feed was available, usually the home team's.
Free previews of MLB Extra Innings are shown during the first week of the season, and the week after the All Star Game.
MLB Extra Innings is available with these cable and satellite providers:
- United States:
- Central America:
- South America and Caribbean:
New contract and controversy
On March 6, 2007, DirecTV signed a new seven-year carriage contract with the MLB. At first, it was to be an exclusive deal worth $700 million. However, as a result of viewer complaints and antitrust concerns - voiced by, among others, Massachusetts Senator John Kerry - MLB agreed to offer the package for renewal by cable systems and Dish Network. By March 9, negotiations had begun to try to settle the dispute, with a deadline of April 1, the first day of the MLB regular season. MLB demanded that the cable systems bundle the renewal of the Extra Innings package with the MLB Network, a 24-hour network in the vein of NFL Network, NBA TV, and NHL Network that MLB launched on January 1, 2009. Furthermore, these systems were asked to place the channel on an expanded digital tier. At least one major system, Time Warner Cable, balked at the terms.
The offer from the cable consortium to MLB would have matched the financing portion, but cable was only willing to put the MLB Network on a premium tier. Cable systems did guarantee to reach at least as many viewers of MLB Network as DirecTV will reach. MLB was not satisfied with the offer, and publicly claimed that the cable companies failed to meet more of the criteria for the deal than they had actually met. However, while MLB wanted the cable systems to match the same offer as DirecTV, MLB would be providing more generous benefits to DirecTV for the very same offer: DirecTV would be receiving a stake in MLB Network, thereby barring cable systems from receiving the telecasts. Hence, MLB was accused of claiming that cable would not meet the same terms as DirecTV, while not offering the same deal to the cable consortium.
As of the start of the season on April 2, only DirecTV had agreed to those terms and was able to retain Extra Innings. It would not be available on any cable system until after the deadline was extended and agreements were reached.
On April 4, MLB and iN DEMAND finally reached an agreement similar to the one that MLB reached with DirecTV. Cable companies that carry iN DEMAND resumed carrying MLB Extra Innings and also agreed to add the MLB Network upon its launch. iN DEMAND only had the authority to negotiate directly for and agree to add the MLB Network on their owners' cable systems which are made up by Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cox Communications and Advance/Newhouse (Bright House Networks); in turn, iN DEMAND got an equity stake in the MLB Network about the same as the one DirecTV received. Cablevision which had been asking for their own equity stake as terms for them to agree to add the MLB Network came to terms with iN DEMAND and Major League Baseball on May 4, 2007 which was iN DEMAND and MLB's deadline for cable companies and Dish Network to reach a deal. Dish never came to an agreement and as of January 2013 is still not carrying the package. Cablevision agreed to carry the MLB Network without getting the equity stake in it. Charter Communications also reached an agreement with MLB.
iN DEMAND places MLB Extra Innings on the same channels as its NHL Center Ice service. Some providers, like Comcast and Suddenlink Communications may not offer all 14 MLB game channels. Because of hockey games shown on the same channels (particularly in April), some nights on Comcast and Suddenlink see no more than 2 or 3 games being shown. Some Comcast cable systems do carry all 14 game channels, while some systems have limited number of channels. DirecTV customers do not have this problem, as their 15 channels (mostly RSN remaps) are dedicated solely to baseball.
Additional "Superfan" feature
MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV has launched a "Superfan" premium package similar to that available from NFL Sunday Ticket. This includes a "Game Mix" with eight games on the same channel, and a "Strike Zone Channel" with live cut-ins to the night's games. It is commercial free as well, and is also available in HD.
DirecTV subscribers with the Superfan package for the 2008 season also get access to up to 40 games in HD each week. In 2007, at least 10 games each week were in HD. HD equipment is required. Superfan costs an additional $50 on top of the MLB Extra Innings package subscription cost as well as requires one to subscribe to the $9.99 HD monthly access fee.
Beginning with the 2009 MLB season, "Superfan" will no longer be offered as an option with MLB Extra Innings on DirecTV. Instead, the up to 40 HD games per week will be part of the base package, provided to subscribers who already possess HD-ready equipment, and who pay the aforementioned HD monthly access fee.
Game broadcasts of a major league team in its home market are blacked out in that area if the same game is on the Extra Innings schedule. In most cases, these games can be seen locally on a broadcast or cable/satellite network. (If both feeds are available, as noted above, they are both blacked out.)
Fox has exclusive broadcasting rights for Saturday afternoon games starting 3 hours prior to first pitch of their scheduled game through 3 hours after the start of their scheduled first pitch. For the majority of the 2010 season, an MLB on Fox telecast is scheduled to start at 4:10pm ET. Any games starting prior to 1:10pm ET and after 7:05pm ET will be shown on MLB Extra Innings. However there are 5 instances this season that Fox will have games starting other than 4:10pm ET. On May 22 and June 26, this year Fox will have games starting at 7:10pm ET. In this instance games starting prior to 4:10pm ET and after 10:05pm ET will be shown on MLB Extra Innings. In the other 3 instances, Fox will have games starting at 3:10pm ET (April 10, May 1, and May 8). Games starting prior to 12:10pm ET and after 6:05pm ET will be shown on MLB Extra Innings. Any games not shown on Fox falling in between those aforementioned time frames will be blacked out. This is a departure from previous seasons, whereas all games were blacked out on Saturdays prior to 7:05pm ET in previous seasons.
ESPN has exclusive broadcast rights for Sunday evening games. Any game starting after 5:00 PM Eastern time on Sundays will not be broadcast on MLB Extra Innings. ESPN also televises a number of other games throughout the week. These, however, are not blacked out.
In North Carolina, Time Warner persistently refuses to carry the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which means all Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles games - home and away - are blacked out because MLB includes the state in those teams' broadcast territory. North Carolina's Time Warner customers are now considering a class action lawsuit because they have access to 15% fewer games despite paying the same fee for the package as all other parts of the country.
Additionally, Cox Communications in Northern Connecticut refuses to carry YES (Yankees Entertainment Network) in an area of the country where the fan base is fairly split between Red Sox and Yankees fans. Since Connecticut is designated Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets territory, those games are blacked out not only on Extra Innings, but also when the Yankees are playing on ESPN. Since, in many areas, Cox has a monopoly on Northern Connecticut (cable-wise) the only way to get YES in this area is to buy DirecTV.
Nationally-broadcast Toronto Blue Jays games and Sunday Night Baseball are not made available on Extra Innings and are available on Sportsnet and TSN2 respectively. All remaining televised games, including Major League Baseball on Fox, ESPN Major League Baseball and Major League Baseball on TBS are shown without exclusivity. Chicago Cubs and White Sox games broadcast on WGN-TV and New York Mets games on WPIX-TV are not blacked out. Out-of-market and shared territory games that air on Sportsnet's regional feeds are not blacked out, but may be subject to improper use of the simultaneous substitution rules.
Package price history
Many cable and satellite companies offer "early bird" package prices if ordered by the first week of the season or for automatic renewal. The following prices were for the regular listed price per season for the cable packages.
- 1996-2000: $139
- 2001: $149
- 2002: $159
- 2008: $199
- 2009: $191.94 (early renewal price)
- 2010: $199
- 2011: $209.94
- 2012: $223.96
DIRECTV has historically charged less for their SD only package than cable ($219 to renew and $179 for early bird in 2008) and instead offered HD and 'Superfan' for an additional charge.
DirecTV's first published prices (aka early bird) through the years: 2008:$179, 2009:$189, 2010:$192, 2011:$204 2012:$210
- NFL Sunday Ticket
- NBA League Pass
- NHL Center Ice
- NASCAR Hot Pass
- ESPN GamePlan
- ESPN Full Court
- MLS Direct Kick
- List of current Major League Baseball announcers
- Major League Baseball on regional sports networks
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