For all the fighting and grumbling I did before and during the first week of the season regarding that pesky Extra Innings deal, it strikes me as ironic that I’ve stopped watching games because my favorite team sucks (stupid White Sox). I guess I could watch Bonds every night on my mlb.tv, or I could get the extra innings deal now that I moved into my new apartment and enjoy the wonders of Comcast cable (nothing ever happened with Dish, ya know). But for what?
I’d rather read the box score. I mean, that’s what espn.com and those SportsCenter minutes are for. Besides, what I think fans were lobbying for in scowling at the DirecTV deal was choice, and that’s precisely what I’m exercising.
On a semi-related matter, the New York Times reported this week that our favorite MLB New Media Goons, aka, Baseball’s Advance Media division, signed a deal with StubHub, an online ticket broker (itself acquired by Ebay in January).
SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 1 — Major League Baseball once frowned on scalping, the resale of tickets among fans and sidewalk entrepreneurs. On Thursday, professional baseball will announce plans to get into the business.
In a nod to the growing strength of Internet ticket exchanges, the league has entered into a revenue-sharing agreement with StubHub, an online market owned by eBay that acts as a middleman in the resale of tickets to entertainment events. Under the five-year deal, all 30 baseball team Web sites and MLB.com will direct fans who want to sell their tickets or buy tickets from other fans to Stubhub.com.
You may remember that Stubhub is owned by Ebay, meaning that whenever you go to the auction site to put up tickets for this weekend’s ballgame, there’s a good chance you’ll end up paying more “fees” on your sale.
But, as the Times reports, teams don’t like Stubhub because it really just is scalping, only it’s done in the comfort of your home or office and not in the street corner. But, as the Bites blog reminds us, it pays to have a daddy with fat pockets:
StubHub, by itself, was a troublemaker, challenging established teams, concert promoters and venues as well as its giant rival, TicketMaster. Ebay, now a grown up member of the corporate establishment, is less likely to do something radical and risky.
The issue for fans is a moot point. But the concept of the League mandating (or “making the option available” if you will) that teams make Stubhub the place for the resale of tickets makes for some interesting fodder.
But Mr. Carter said that the deal is likely to exacerbate the tension between some teams and the league over who has control of marketing and e-commerce in the digital age. He said that some team managements think they can do a better job of making money from their own efforts and entrepreneurship, rather than ceding it to the league.
“It’s part of a bigger issue as technology moves forward,” said Mr. Carter. “There’s a push and pull between teams and leagues.” Individual teams were not going to be officially informed of the deal until Thursday, league officials said.
Baseball’s New Media goons have created a State’s-rights scenario out of thin air. And if we take the Cleveland Cavalier’s recent suit and counter suit with Ticketmaster as precedent, this might lead to a showdown of Federal proportions. Not because the Feds would get involved, but because Baseball Franchises would want control over those newly legit “secondary market” dollars.
(Full disclosure: Umpbump.com advertises ticket resellers, and makes a tiny percentage from the sale of some those tickets).