Senate Eyes DirecTV/MLB Deal


The Senate Commerce Committee will hold a hearing March 27 on the DirecTV/Major League Baseball deal.

While the hearing is billed as "Exclusive Sports Programming: Examining Competition and Consumer Choice," it is sure to deal heavily with the satellite company's proposed exclusive--with caveats--

sports deal with MLB

.The caveat is that the deal will not be exclusive if the current carriers of MLB's Extra Innings package of out-of-market games agree to the same terms as DirecTV, which include carrying baseball's cable network on expanded basic. Commerce Committee member John Kerry (D-Mass.) asked the FCC to

look into the deal

, concerned that it would leave 50 million viewers without out-of-market games and decrease choice and competition.DirecTV has countered that viewers can always switch to its service or stream the games online.The issue of access to must-have sports programming has heated up in Washington, thanks in part to a program-access tussle between MidAtlantic Sports Network and Comcast over the hometown

Washington Nationals

baseball team.