MLB Clubs' Streaming Rights Hinge On Negotiating With Local RSNs
MLB owners at their recent meetings in Arlington voted unanimously to "give unauthenticated digital rights back to the 30 clubs in an expected move that may allow" baseball fans to "stream games in their local markets" by the start of the '20 season, according to Eric Prisbell of SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL. However, there is an "important caveat: Clubs are expected to need to work through contractual issues with their respective regional sports networks in order to be able to stream games already slated to be broadcast on those RSNs." That "will likely take time." Last year, 89% of all MLB games aired on an RSN, but the "number for each club varies by market." Depending on the contractual terms with their RSNs, clubs "may now be able to sell the digital rights to the remaining games to big tech companies such as Amazon, Hulu, YouTube or other interested providers." The opportunity to sell the digital rights for games "could offer another revenue stream for clubs, but it depends largely on how each individual franchise chooses to utilize that opportunity" (SPORTS BUSINESS JOURNAL, 12/2 issue).