Bit Rate

FiOS Still On MLB Extra Innings Bench

4/23/2008 3:55 AM

About a month into the 2008 baseball season, Verizon still hasn’t landed a deal with Major League Baseball to offer the Extra Innings out-of-market subscription package to FiOS customers.

In February, Verizon senior vice president of media relations Eric Rabe posted a blog entry saying the telco was optimistic it would clinch a deal "soon" (see Verizon Hopes to Go Into Extra Innings).

In an April 11 update to the posting, Rabe says: "We gave you the best information we had at the time, but TV content negotiations are complex and often take many months to complete. We still expect to begin providing MLB EI during the 2008 baseball season but, as I said before, it will not be available in all markets as soon as the ink is dry on the contract."

MLB spokesman Pat Courtney confirms: "We are still in negotiations with [Verizon] and are hopeful of getting a deal done."

What’s the holdup? One possible sticky wicket: MLB has required Extra Innings distributors to also widely carry the forthcoming MLB Channel, slated to debut next January.

In the meantime, Verizon’s Rabe suggests customers can order MLB.TV to watch out-of-market games online. "We understand your frustrations with not getting MLBEI on FiOS TV, and we look forward to the day that we can bring it to you," he adds.

That’s no consolation to FiOS TV subs who’ve been waiting to get the Extra Innings package. "It is just amateur hour the way they have handled this," groused one Verizon customer to me, in an e-mail. Plenty of other unhappy sports fans have posted messages on the Verizon blog.