In Demand and MLB Continue Public Battle

Major League Baseball and iN Demand Networks traded public shots Wednesday after MLB on Wednesday said iN Demand’s offer for the out-of-market baseball package was insufficient.

In Demand president & CEO Robert Jacobson fired the latest salvo after MLB let In Demand’s latest offer sail by.

“By rejecting this matching offer, MLB has proven it never intended for iN DEMAND to have a fair and equal opportunity to bid for Extra Innings.  We, like many, many others, question MLB’s commitment to its fans by limiting distribution of both Extra Innings and The Baseball Channel.   We have offered to carry The Baseball Channel to the same number of subscribers as DirecTV and have offered the same compensation to MLB as DirectTV. Our offer was fully responsive to MLB's requirements and public statements.”

Earlier in the day, MLB chief operating officer Bob DuPuy had issue a statement turning down the In Demand offer.

"Today Major League Baseball received communication from iN Demand. The offer to match the terms of the agreement reached by MLB and DIRECTV remains open to iN Demand and Dish until the deadline of March 31, 2007. The communication sent to our office today by iN Demand is not responsive to that offer. In spite of their public comments, the response falls short of nearly all of the material conditions (among them requirements for carriage of The Baseball Channel and their share of the rights fees for Extra Innings) set forth in the Major League Baseball offer made to them on March 9."

The day began with iN Demand Networks saying it will match DirecTV’s offer to carry Major League Baseball’s out-of-market package and yet-to-be launched Baseball Channel on "the same terms contained in the MLB and DirecTV agreement announced recently."

The provider of programming via cable outlets said it will match DirecTV’s seven-year commitment - said to be worth $700 million - and will carry the new channel "with distribution to at least the number of subscribers to which DirecTV launches the channel."

"This offer meets all the conditions set forth by MLB last week," Jacobson said originally.

DISH Network has ’yet to respond to MLBs offer   &http://www.broadcastingcable.com/article/CA6422877.html?display=Search+Results&text=directv>that all incumbents of the package have until the end of this month to match DirecTV’s terms.