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