MLB Talks with Cable Continue

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With opening day of the Major League Baseball season underway, the league and In Demand Networks continued to negotiate a possible deal for the Extra Innings pay-per-view package.

As of 4:25 p.m. Monday, executives for the league and In Demand, which represents cable operators, were still hashing out a deal, In Demand spokeswoman Ellen Cooper said.

The parties have already gone into extra innings past the March 31 deadline for the PPV package.

In addition to continuing to be able to offer Extra Innings, In Demand has been charged with negotiating carriage for MLB’s proposed start-up linear service, which is slated to debut in 2009.

DirecTV reached a seven-year, $700 million exclusive deal to offer Extra Innings, as well as distribute the Baseball Channel to 15 million of its subscribers. DirecTV also holds a 20% equity stake in the fledgling network.

With five MLB games completed and two other games in progress as of Monday afternoon, DirecTV remains the exclusive provider of Extra Innings this season. The package had previously been available on DirecTV rival EchoStar Communications’ Dish Network, along with cable operators that obtained the games through In Demand.

Under pressure from Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass), MLB president and chief operating officer Bob DuPuy agreed last week to hold face-to-face talks with In Demand to negotiate a possible deal that could allow cable operators to distribute Extra Innings.

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