Monday, March 24, 2014

Crane wants the blackout lifted on Extra Innings

When Jim Crane mentioned back in October that he would like to be able to find a way around the blackout restrictions for fans, or maybe even stream games online, whille the team figured out a way to convince DirecTV to carry CSN Houston, I was intrigued.

The Astros want people in Houston, and in MLB's outdated blackout zones, to watch the team for free - not for free, of course, but for everyone's cable bill to go up by a couple of bucks a month and hope that everyone just thinks the Gubment is sticking it to them with taxes and fees.

So how do you do that? Find a way around it. The streaming solution is interesting, but it's still relying on people being willing to spend a set amount per month to watch the Astros - which is no better than putting CSN Houston on a tiered plan. The Astros want all However Many Millions of Texans to automatically get the network so the Astros get their cash.

But Crane's new idea, MLB waiving the blackout restrictions on Extra Innings, is just God-awful:
"It hasn't been ruled out, but the bigger possibility is to try to get the games on (Extra Innings). They've got all the games, but you can't see the ones in your area. Is there a way to lift that and figure out some way to charge something for that. That's another option."

That's not an option. That's dumb. If the main problem with CSN Houston is that you're not sure you'll get enough people to pay for CSN Houston on a sports tier package for, say, $3/month, what the hell kind of jump in logic does it take to expect people to pay $49/month from April-August? Because there's absolutely no way MLBAM discounts Extra Innings just for people in the Astros' blackout zone, so that's not an option at all.

Now if Crane can get Nolan Ryan to go "have a little talk" with the head of DirecTV and maybe bring along Sig Mejdal and a wiffle bat with nails sticking out of it, and work something out that way...that would be different.

What this tells me is what you likely already know: This CSN Houston thing isn't getting resolved any time soon.


Anonymous said...

I for one, don't see this as horrible at all. I assume Crane only sees this as temporary, until he can get more carriers. So, it is not fair to compare it to permanent options.

Also, it gives me a legit option, and the total costs includes all MLB games, not just the Astros. It is the same way I see the Rockets (I am out of the Rockets' blackout zone, but in the Astros'), and I would love to have this as an option until things are worked out.

Anonymous said...

I'll buy it if the blackout is lifted.

Anonymous said...

Its a step in the right direction. I was able to watch games with proxies last year but it was a pain. At least this way you can record and use dvr functions without relying on the internet. Maybe it will put the stupid blackout restriction in a bigger spot light. Its ridiculous if you pay for the regional sports package and its still blacked out on extra innings. Its like mlb is still in the 1980s.

Anonymous said...

James or someone else who has knowledge about this,

Is the MLB extra innings package only available through Direct TV? Does this "solution" apply to UVerse subscribers as well?

Royal Worm

Anonymous said...

MLB Extra Innings is available with these cable and satellite providers:

United States:
Bright House Networks
Cablevision (iO)
Charter Communications
Cox Communications
Midcontinent Communications
Suddenlink Communications
Time Warner Cable
Verizon FiOS