SBD/March 30, 2012/Media

MLBAM Sets The Bar For Streaming Video On Web-Connected Devices

MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman's team "sets the standard for broadcasting live sports -- or any live video, actually -- on web-connected devices, offering viewing options that make a DVR seem primitive," according to Chuck Salter of FAST COMPANY. It streams "more live video than any other sports entity -- and any other company," and MLB's digital arm "has quietly proven itself to be New York's top tech startup of the last decade." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "It's not only one of the great stories in American sports business in the past 12 years, but one of the great stories in American business." Salter reports a total of 2.2 million people last year "bought BAM's AtBat iPhone and iPad apps (among the top-grossing in iTunes) or paid BAM up to $120 to subscribe to, the service that airs every out-of-market" MLB game. MLBAM in '11 also "sold more than 35 million MLB tickets, more than half of the league's inventory." Perhaps the "least-known aspect of BAM is that it streams video for other companies." It streams "all of the live web video for ESPN, a major competitor, as well as Glenn Beck's online talk show." MLBAM broadcast 18,000 live events in '11, "including all 63 games" of the NCAA men's basketball tournament. However, there is "inherent tension between BAM and the clubs." This stems from MLBAM's "control over the clubs' digital rights and websites but also from its mission to be innovative." The teams often serve as "labs, but BAM reserves the right to say no to a team's experiments, often because an idea won't work for the other 29 teams." MLB Giants Senior VP & CIO Bill Schlough: "We have our fights now and then. It's just the way it is. We have to recognize that we're a one-thirtieth owner in this entity and we have to respect each other. I know the value and equity produced by BAM is worth any of the smaller struggles" (FAST COMPANY, 4/'12 issue).
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