SBD/Issue 193/Sports Media

MLBAM, Yankees Officials Discuss Live Local Streaming Of Games

Live In-Market Streaming Of Yankees Begins
July 8, Priced At $49.95 For Rest Of Season
MLB, YES Network, the Yankees and MLBAM execs yesterday outlined their landmark deal to begin live in-market online streaming of Yankees games beginning July 8 in partnership with Cablevision. MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman said the package, priced at $49.95 for the rest of the season and $19.95 for a 30-day period, arrives to some pent-up customer demand, but he also acknowledged the effort is in part designed to create a new market. "It's a little of both. But we definitely get letters and e-mails about this and know there is demand in the New York market for this," Bowman said. YES President & CEO Tracy Dolgin said the RSN is in negotiations to offer the in-market streaming through other N.Y.-area distributors, a key consideration since Cablevision TV or Internet service is not available in many important parts of the N.Y. broadcast area. Marketing for the effort, beginning immediately by all the involved parties, will include a two-minute tutorial during Yankees game telecasts on YES on how to order the product. "This is a new product, and as such, does present something of a higher hurdle. Fan education is going to be very important," Bowman said. The in-market streaming represents the first from a major professional sports league in which local TV rights are also involved. 

PRICE POINT: Pricing for the product, if pro-rated over the course of an entire season, is nearly identical to costs for MLBAM's out-of-market subscription package MLB.TV -- a move arriving by design as Bowman said most MLB.TV subscribers focus their viewing on a specific club. Dolgin: "They're not paying $49.95 to get Yankees games. They get the games already on TV. But with this deal, they're getting it in a different way, they're getting portability." The Yankees' in-market feed, supported by MLBAM and accessible at Web sites for the Yankees, YES and Cablevision's Optimum Online, will be a "dirty" feed that contains all of the same ads shown on YES TV broadcasts. But Dolgin said that with enough subscribers to the product, Web-only spots could be eventually sold. The service is not being sold for mobile devices (Fisher & Ourand, SportsBusiness Journal). Dolgin said that the pricing has "not been determined beyond this season." Dolgin: "When you're the pioneer, you try to learn as you go." He added that the $49.95 cost is a "fair one that YES depended" on MLBAM to set. Bowman: "I guess if it's the wrong price, we'll know who to blame. We sell hundreds of thousands of out-of-market packages priced at $109 to $119 and fans think it's fair. They don't seem resistant to it" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/25). On Long Island, Neil Best notes it is "unclear how much demand there is for the product, because it is unprecedented." Yankees Managing General Partner & co-Chair Hal Steinbrenner said, "We're pretty sure a lot of [fans] are going to take advantage of it" (NEWSDAY, 6/25).

DuPuy Expects Majority Of Clubs To Be
Involved With Streaming Next Season
THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD? A second in-market streaming announcement is anticipated next week, and MLB President & COO Bob DuPuy said he expects "a majority" of MLB clubs to be involved with the effort by sometime next season. (Fisher & Ourand). In DC, Tim Lemke notes teams that "own shares of their" own RSNs, including the Red Sox, Orioles and Nationals, "likely will be the first to strike deals." However, the service should also appeal to RSNs and cable providers because "they will get a share of the money." DuPuy said, "We're hoping other clubs climb aboard." A MASN spokesperson said that the net is "reviewing the in-market streaming issue" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 6/25).

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