ACA Pans MLB Rights Deal

Small Op Group Suggests Price Tag Will be Paid at Family Video Pump

Don't add the American Cable Association to those popping the champagne after Major League Baseball struck long-term rights deals with Fox and TBS and, following last month's deal with ESPN.

ACA, which has long argued about the price of sports' rights' impact on price its small and midsized members have to pay for channels, was smarting at the $12.4 billion price tag.

"The plain truth is that these MLB deals will send monthly pay-TV bills streaking skyward," said ACA president Matt Polka in a statement. "They will make life hard for families whose incomes, hammered by the recession, can't keep pace with the greed of broadcasters, cable networks and sports leagues. And these MLB deals follow the announcement of equally harmful deals between the National Football League and CBS, NBC, Fox and ESPN worth more than $42 billion.

"Cable or satellite TV service consisting of a few dozen channels at a reasonable price is a great deal. But insane sports contracts are destroying a business model that once balanced the interests of consumers, pay-TV operators, programmers and advertisers."

Polka said that if things don't change, ACA will try to change them. "If sports leagues, broadcasters, and programmers are unable to moderate themselves, then ACA will have no choice but to join with consumers to seek intervention in this increasingly broken marketplace," he said.

ACA has long complained about the price of sports, particularly ESPN, and its impact on programming costs.