MLBAM's Bowman Talks Live Streaming And Future Of Doing So In Local Markets
MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman spoke with FORBES' Mike Ozanian on a variety of topics, including the rising trend of live-streaming games and events. Bowman said, "People didn't do live events eight years ago when we started streaming, or even seven years ago, six years ago. ... Video is now one of the greatest things going on in digital media. ... We have a great partnership with ESPN and a great partnership with our friends at Turner and March Madness. We're grateful for those, but rather than trying to build it themselves, it's probably easier just to buy it. ... Given our choice of technology between build or buy, we'd rather buy. It's easier, it's cheaper, it's more reliable. It's just that so often, because the commissioner had so much vision, we were first or nearly first to arrive. We may have not been the smartest, we may have not been the best ... but we were probably there among the very first and so we had to build a lot of stuff." Ozanian noted, "There are three Major League Baseball teams that do some live streaming in-market, but it's a touchy situation because of Major League Baseball's national TV deals with the networks and ESPN." He asked, "Do you think there's room to add more teams to this without sacrificing or endangering Major League Baseball's national TV revenue?" Bowman responded there is "for sure" room to grow, and YES Network's streaming is "the model we want to try and follow." Bowman: "No league is really doing in-market streaming. So baseball with only three teams is still far ahead of all the other leagues." He added, the "reason I think it will continue to evolve and happen is that if we don't figure out a way to serve these fans, capture it, measure it, reward those who need to be rewarded, whether if it's cable operators or RSNs like YES, the fans will" (FORBES.com, 9/3).