There's an interview over at The Hardball Times, a new baseball site with daily articles from some pretty solid contributors, with the president of Victory Sports, a new cable-TV outlet for the Minnesota Twins (think YES Network in New York). Apparently, the major cable providers in Minnesota are refusing to carry the channel because Victory Sports is charging too much. And so Twins fans have no place to watch the games. I'm taking a class in Communications Law this semester, and we haven't talked at all about these kinds of channel negotiations, but I found the interview pretty compelling as an example of what this kind of negotiation looks like. Just a clip to give you an idea what this stuff is about:
THT: There are similar, team-based television channels in other markets. As you mentioned, the Yankees have the YES Network, for instance. What are some of the other, similar channels to Victory, and how much do they receive from TV outlets?
Cattoor: The Yankees (YES) and Red Sox (NESN) both have their own nets. The Cubs and White Sox are going into Comcast's network in Chicago in 2005. Houston is pursuing theirs also. In contrast to the stadium, where the Twins are one of the last teams to get one, we will be one of the first teams to establish our own network. NESN, we understand, gets over $2. YES, as ruled by the arbitrator, gets $1.93.
I just found the interview interesting, and thought I'd pass along the link. Anyone in favor of more regulation for these kinds of things probably likes that there's no deal in place, because it probably means pressure to force the cable companies to carry the channel and not let the free market work. I don't think I have an opinion either way really -- I just know that if I was a Twins fan (and aren't we all Twins fans really?) I'd be frustrated that I couldn't watch the baseball games.