Deltatre replacing BAMTech in MLB’s lineup
Deltatre has teamed up with Major League Baseball as its new technology services provider and will back its global network of nearly 300 digital destinations.
The deal adds to the sports portfolio of Bruin Sports Capital-owned Deltatre, which has relationships with the ATP World Tour, FIFA and the NFL, among other sports properties. In 2018, it built the content management system that underpinned the revamping of NFL team websites, a process similar to what it has done for MLB in this arrangement.
Forge, the brand name of Deltatre’s content management system, has already been supporting MLB.com and the 30 club websites since Opening Day after being chosen by MLB to replace BAMTech last year. Deltatre has already redesigned MLB.com and home pages for the clubs. Tools are in place for more design changes, if opportunities emerge.
The onboarding will continue in the coming months for hundreds of other MLB-supported websites in the baseball ecosystem, and ultimately all will be supported by Forge.
One of the reasons MLB chose Deltatre was because it felt the platform affords MLB the chance to be nimble and flexible, capable of providing live updates and energizing sites with live content. Additional features and tools, such as live blogging, visual stories and creating new digital experiences for users, are also in the works.
The seeds of this partnership were planted after MLB Advanced Media sold a majority stake of BAMTech — which has powered numerous OTT services, including HBO Now — to Disney in separate transactions in 2016 and 2017 collectively worth $2.58 billion. When Disney took control of BAMTech, the technology stack went to Disney and has since become Disney Streaming Services.
That served as the ignition point for MLB to conduct a global search to find a new content management system before Opening Day of this season. A change was viewed as almost inevitable, with Disney’s focus with BAMTech squarely on Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.
Deltatre’s Jeff Volk, senior vice president and head of business and revenue for the Americas, is a former MLBAM and BAMTech executive. He noted the relationships “within our families” — extending from Volk all the way up to Bruin Sports Capital’s CEO and founder George Pyne — helped as Deltatre and MLB initially “embarked on a conversation.” But more importantly, he added, was what occurred in the summer of 2018, when they engaged in a monthslong proof-of-concept. That ultimately led to the partnership.
Three of the entities at the center of this deal — Bruin Sports Capital, Deltatre and BAMTech — have had an eventful few years:
George Pyne founds Bruin Sports Capital
Bruin Sports Capital buys Deltatre
BAMTech sells a 33% stake to the Walt Disney Company
Walt Disney Company acquires a majority stake in BAMTech
Deltatre takes over CMS production of the NFL’s 32 team websites
Deltatre takes over as MLB’s new technology services provider
“MLB in the last two years has changed quite considerably with the sale of BAMTech,” Volk said. “It had incredible growth and incredible success and had started to look at different ways of delivering solutions. The relationships between Deltatre and MLB are great. I believe relationships matter. But the relationship can only get you in the door to present and showcase the platform. Ultimately, at the end of the day, the platform needs to speak for itself.”
For Deltatre, the challenge of onboarding in less than six months for Opening Day this season appeared daunting. Opening Day is one of MLB’s most trafficked days of the year, with millions of fans accessing the site on different platforms. As it turned out, MLB’s transition to a new content management system for the start of this season went off without any technical or user issues, which MLB viewed as an extraordinary achievement.
“It’s going to really transform our content delivery, so we’re getting data, video, news to our fans as quickly as possible and in a way that is effective from a news delivery standpoint,” said Chris Marinak, MLB executive vice president of strategy, technology and innovation. “We’ve gone from a world where we were waiting even eight or 10 minutes before we could get a story published online to a world where we are having all of our content, media, video, news delivered in sub-one minute, sub-30 seconds a lot of times.”
Deltatre was acquired by Bruin Sports Capital in 2016. Principal dealmakers for the MLB alliance were Pyne, Volk, Deltatre deputy CEO and chief commercial officer Andrea Marini and Tony Petitti, MLB’s deputy commissioner for business and media.