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MLB Looks to Stream Live Local Games Online Next Season PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 02 September 2008 23:24
MLB on laptopThe technology is in place, but can the politics be overcome?

MLB is looking to stream local games online next year, even though plans fizzled for such an arrangement this year with Chicago Cubs and White Sox games through Comcast. According to Ourand and Fisher of the Sports Business Journal (SBJ), an MLB/Comcast deal was close at hand this past spring which would have had MLB Advanced Media stream the games for free at the local market level. The geo-location technology is reportedly in place to track just those subscribers to Comcast Sports Net (CSN) Chicago. The deal would have had Comcast and MLBAM splitting ad revenues.

The deal fell apart when the sides – MLBAM and CSN Chicago – couldn’t agree whether games would be streamed on their respective sites, something that would have garnered increased traffic.

As reported by the SBJ:

The MLB-Comcast talks are important on several levels. As the quality of video streaming continues to improve, the application of local market streaming has taken on new prominence in recent months. NBA executives recently disclosed plans to stream games locally starting next season, a first for a major U.S. sports league. That will likely set up a battle between the league, the individual clubs, regional sports networks and cable operators.

The deal has heavy political overtones. MLB Advanced Media, the highly successful, centralized digital wing of MLB, has done exceptionally well selling MLB.TV, the online counterpart to MLB Extra Innings, the MLB out of market package. But some clubs are looking to gain extra revenues at the local level without having to deal with revenue sharing. The Red Sox and Orioles are reportedly pushing hard to allow in-market streaming of games.

The difficulty is that the MLBAM Constitution was never drafted to deal with the rapid changes in technology that have developed since MLBAM was created. As further reported:

“This is all a very, very complicated matter,” said one club official. “Who really has these [digital] rights and how do we best bring them to the marketplace? That’s the big question. And though we’re in sort of a holding pattern right now, it’s no doubt the single biggest economic issue our industry is facing.”


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

Don't forget to register and log in on The Biz of Baseball site to get updates via your in-box, and see information only logged in members can see.

 
Cayenne Tech., MLBAM Sign Online Gaming License Agreement in Taiwan PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 22 August 2008 16:04

MLBMLBAM is going international...

Cayenne Tech. (CEO Yautian Chen) and MLB Advanced Media LP (MLBAM), announced today that they have signed an online interactive gaming service agreement for the non-exclusive rights to customize Cayenne Tech.'s license to include official Major League Baseball club and league marks and logos, official Major League Baseball club uniform colors and Major League Baseball player rights in its online baseball game, MaguMagu, for the Taiwan territory.

In addition, the new MaguMagu baseball game will also present several Major League Baseball players from Taiwan, including Chien-Ming Wang, Hong-Chih Kuo and Chin-lung Hu, so users can engage with an original and dynamic online baseball game.

To commemorate the new MLB-focused MaguMagu game, Cayenne Tech. will be actively running promotions on the MaguMagu game site from August 14 to September 30, 2008. According the the MLBAM press release, "Users can register to win several prizes, including Notebooks, mp3 Players, PSP and select MLB-licensed merchandise, via an online sweepstakes or by playing games at the MaguMagu site. Cayenne Tech. also plans to offer digital versions of the MLB player cards from the MaguMagu game site."

Yautian Chen, CEO of Cayenne Tech., said, "Now, we have the opportunity to play the ultimate match-ups between Hong-Chih Kuo and A-Rod or Chien-Ming Wang and Manny Ramirez in MaguMagu and we will do the best to make it the premier online baseball game for Taiwan baseball fans."

"We are excited to partner with Cayenne Tech. on the first interactive Internet-based Major League Baseball simulation game for the Taiwan market," said Alex Pigeon, Vice President of International, MLBAM. "Cayenne Tech.'s current MaguMagu online baseball game has a tremendous following and we are looking forward to offering fans in Taiwan an engaging baseball experience with a MLB-focused version of MaguMagu in the Chinese Language."

For more info on the MaguMagu game in Taiwan, visit www.ma9ma9.com.tw.


Source: MLB Advamced Media


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
MLBAM and ESPN Reach Five Year Digital Rights Agreement PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 21 August 2008 13:25

MLB and ESPNNearly seven months ago, and only three years into a seven-year, $140M agreement with MLBAM, ESPN opted out of the agreement with MLBAM over digital rights. Today the sides announced a new agreement.

 

The sides announced that they have reached a digital rights agreement that will extend and expand their current agreement through 2013. The agreement includes rights for ESPN.com, ESPN360.com, ESPN’s mobile initiatives (ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN Mobile Publishing, ESPN MVP), content on emerging platforms including video game consoles, interactive television and portable devices (ex: iTunes/iPod, Zune) and syndication of ESPN-licensed content. The deal also covers all new platforms ESPN creates or develops relationships with through the end of the agreement, and includes digital rights that extend worldwide (except select Asian and Pacific Rim markets). Paired with ESPN and Major League Baseball’s most recent television deal and ESPN’s deal for exclusive U.S. terrestrial radio rights, the combination represents ESPN’s most comprehensive multi-platform collection of baseball rights ever.

 

Financial terms were not released.

 

“This agreement further solidifies the great relationship we have with Major League Baseball and together with our television deal, allows us to bring the game of baseball to more fans than ever before,” said George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc. and ABC Sports. “Our goal is always to deliver sports to fans across any platform, and this is yet another agreement that fulfills that strategy.

Baseball Commissioner Allan H. (Bud) Selig said, “Major League Baseball is very pleased with this opportunity to enhance our partnership with ESPN. We have a great relationship with ESPN and this new agreement will bring our game to our fans in a variety of new and exciting ways.”

In the past three years , ESPN has reached nearly 20 major multimedia rights agreements.

Under the new agreement, ESPN digital media’s coverage of Major League Baseball will include:

  • Live Game Streaming: ESPN360.com, ESPN’s signature online TV network, and ESPN Mobile TV can simulcast all Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball and Wednesday Night Baseball telecasts. ESPN digital media platforms will also be able to stream the Home Run Derby and other special MLB events for which ESPN has television rights.
  • Expanded Online and Mobile Highlights: ESPN.com and its network of global sites will feature more highlights than ever before, and ESPN’s Mobile platforms (ESPN Mobile TV, ESPN MVP) will have newly expanded rights to deliver video highlights by themselves and as part of original shows.
  • Interactive Television: ESPN will work with MLBAM to develop interactive TV applications around baseball games and content.
  • Interactive Online Applications: ESPN digital media platforms will continue development and enhancement of ESPN GameCast and may develop other interactive applications.
  • Alternative Platforms: ESPN will be able to deliver MLB content as part of its offerings on alternative platforms, such as content download services like Apple’s iTunes Store and console game systems such as Microsoft XBox Live, as well as other platforms which may be developed during the course of the agreement.
  • Content Syndication: ESPN will have rights to syndicate some of the MLB content including video and data, that it presents on ESPN digital media platforms to ESPN digital media syndication partners.

Souces: ESPN, Sports Business Daily


Maury Brown

Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He is contributor to Baseball Prospectus, and is available as a freelance writer.

Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network.

 
Online All-Star Game Voting Hits 100 Million Mark PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 19 June 2008 03:25

MLB.comWhether it is because each fan can vote up to 25 times, or not, MLB Advanced Media reports, that All-Star Game starting lineup continues to reach record levels as the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot on MLB.com surpassed the 100 million vote mark during Tuesday night’s games, the earliest date the ballot ever reached that milestone.

In 2007, the Monster All-Star Game Online Ballot established the previous mark when it recorded the 100 millionth vote on June 23. With just two weeks left in the balloting process, races across many positions are tightening up and appear to be too close to call. Among those positions are American League catcher, outfield and second base and National League shortstop, outfield and first base.

“These final two weeks of balloting figure to prove pivotal,” said Dinn Mann, Executive Vice President, Content, MLB.com. “Leaders in numerous categories frequently change as a result of 6-8 million votes being cast online every day.”

The Monster 2008 All-Star Game Online Ballot, which is available in four languages (English, Spanish, Japanese and traditional Chinese), closes at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on Wednesday, July 2.

Never let it be said that the All-Star Game isn't a populatity contest.

Source: MLB Advanced Media

 
MLB.com to Provide Extensive Coverage of '08 Draft PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 04 June 2008 10:27
MLB.comMLB.com announced today that it will again be providing interactive media for the 2008 First-Year Player Draft live from The Milk House at Disney’s World Wide of Sports Complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, on June 5 and 6. Fans can also follow the entire draft via the MLB.com Draft Tracker – a searchable database of every draft-eligible player featuring biographical data, statistics, scouting reports and video.

Following ESPN2’s live broadcast of the first 46 picks (first and compensation rounds), MLB.com will be the exclusive destination for every selection from rounds two through 50, representing more than 96% of the nearly 1,500 selections. Here are highlights and a programming schedule:

  • Nearly 20 hours of live draft coverage streamed on BaseballChannel.TV
  • Live video look-ins to draft ‘war rooms’ of select Major League clubs
  • Audio-only simulcast of entire draft available
  • At-home reaction from top draft prospects Pedro Alvarez and Kyle Skipworth
  • Video interviews with Negro Leaguers, Hall of Famers, club dignitaries and 2008 draftees
  • More than 150 original stories, including behind-the-scenes perspective from all 30 clubs
  • Photo galleries including club dignitaries and Negro League draftees

Thursday, June 5 (all times Eastern)

12:00 p.m. – 2008 Draft Preview Show: MLB.com draft expert Jonathan Mayo will join host Vinny Micucci to provide analysis into this year’s crop of draft prospects. The program includes a live interview with Nationals pitcher Ross Detwiler, a 2007 first round pick.

1:00 p.m. – Negro Leagues Player Draft: MLB.com will provide an exclusive, live video stream of the announcement of the pre-assigned selections to honor each Negro League alumnus.

1:30 p.m. – MLB.com live from Orlando : Host Seth Everett will take fans right up to the ESPN2’s broadcast of the first pick with the latest news and information from The Milk House.

2:00 p.m. – First-Year Player Draft Live: MLB.com will provide a live video stream of ESPN2’s coverage of the first and compensation rounds on BaseballChannel.TV.

6:00 p.m. – MLB.com live from Orlando : MLB.com will stream every choice live from the podium until the final selection of the day. Micucci, Mayo and MLB Scouting Bureau director Frank Marcos will provide insight and interviews.

Friday, June 6 (all times Eastern)

11:30 a.m. – First-Year Player Draft Live: MLB.com will stream every pick through the conclusion of the draft live as it’s announced by the Major League club.

Source: MLB Advanced Media

 
MLB.com Wins '08 BREW Developer Award from Qualcomm PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 29 May 2008 13:55

MLB.comMLB.com, the official website of Major League Baseball, today announced that its MLB.com Gameday plus Gameday Audio mobile application was honored by Qualcomm Incorporated as a 2008 BREW Developer Award winner in the category of ‘Best Personalization or Infotainment Application.’

Gameday plus Gameday Audio™ is a downloadable application for select mobile devices that provides fans with unrestricted access to the home, away and foreign language feeds for live audio broadcasts of every Major League game. Additionally, fans can watch real-time pitch-by-pitch statistics with Gameday or personalize the Player Tracker with a roster of up to 40 of their favorite players. This ultimate mobile baseball experience is available as a monthly subscription. Fans should consult their individual wireless service provider for details and pricing.

The award was announced during ceremonies at the BREW 2008 Conference on Wednesday at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego . The seventh annual BREW 2008 Developer Awards is a program that honors an outstanding array of diverse and innovative BREW applications from a global collection of the industry’s best publishers and developers. Each submission was evaluated by a panel of international industry experts based on criteria such as: ease of use, originality, features, success or likelihood of success and overall ‘coolness.’views.

Source: MLBAM

 
MLB.com Mobile: Over 11 Million Page Views in One Day PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 22 May 2008 09:55

MLB.comIt was announced today that this past Saturday, the MLB.com network of mobile sites recorded 11.9 million page views, marking the first time a single day surpassed 11 million page views.

The record-setting day for MLB.com mobile page views was reached simultaneously as Major League ballparks combined to draw the sixth largest single-day attendance ever -- 631,458 -- to the 16 scheduled games. Since Opening Day of the 2008 regular season, MLB.com and the 30 club mobile sites have recorded nearly 325 million page views.

 
Following Up on MLB's Indiana Jones Promo Tie-In PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 07 May 2008 10:25
MLB and Indiana Jones
It may have been the unexpected nature of it appearing on schedules. It may have been the memory of the ill-fated Spiderman 2 promotion. But the churn regarding the current Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull promotion that MLB is engaged in runs the gambit. Most of the commentary has been negative in tone, which is surprising given the fact that integrating promotions into baseball is as natural as a hot dog and a beer at the ballpark. Bill Veeck might have said the promo is blasé.

Given all the hubbub, we contacted MLB Advanced Media, who runs MLB.com, to get the details around the promotion. As spokesman Matthew Gould said, “It is a fairly straightforward ad campaign for the movie.”

  • The promo is online only in nature.
  • The headshot of Harrison Ford on May 22nd (the release date for “Kingdom of the Skull”) is within every team schedule.
  • The promo ties in with the online Indiana Jones Legends Sweepstakes
  • Banner ads for the movie on MLB.com (possibly other BAM controlled sites, such as MiLB.com, although not confirmed)
  • Email campaign for those registered through MLB.com and within BAM’s database.
  • The campaign runs, in total, through May 25th.

That’s it.

Larger, more intrusive e-Campaigns have been waged. It’s that, well... this is baseball. The ability for many to disconnect the digital realities with advertisement seem to stop when anything “MLB” is attached to it. As mentioned, this is strictly an online campaign. There are no MLB related cross-platform promotions (imagine seeing Derek Jeter with an Indiana Jones hat running through a booby-trapped world of baseballs flying out of walls). And, most notably, there are no logos on the basepads. MLB seems willing (and rightfully so) to do movie promo tie-ins. Doing an on-the-field tie-in seems well into the future after the backlash on Spiderman 2.

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MLB Pushes Upcoming Indiana Jones Flick PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 05 May 2008 23:08
Indiana Jones MLB
In 2004, MLB and Columbia Pictures had big plans for the boldest promotion activation that baseball had ever seen. The plan was to run a 6”x6” Spiderman 2 logo on first, second, and third base for the Interleague games running for all of 3 days (June 11-13). 

That story never happened. MLB pulled back from the promo after hearing outcries from purists.

Four years later, the idea of promoting a movie along with baseball is alive and well, if only for the fact that the promotion is less intrusive: it’s not on the field of play.

This time around it’s Paramount Pictures and MLB working together on the promotion of the May 22nd release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (maybe for this one, the title was too long to fit on the bases?).

MLBAM, through MLB.com, has worked to place Harrison Ford’s image on every schedule matching the street date for the upcoming flick, May 22nd (see the Red Sox schedule for an example ).

But, the image on the schedules is only a small part of the campaign.

MLB.com is running the Indiana Jones Legends Sweepstakes. As posted on the sweepstake’s page, “Win a trip for two to see your favorite baseball hero including game tickets, airfare and hotel.” They then add in, “The lucky winner will also win two tickets to see the new movie Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in theaters May 22nd.”

The promotion with Paramount was launched this past Friday, the 2nd and runs through May 25th according to MLBAM spokesman Matthew Gould.

More details are coming on this as I hear back from Gould on Tuesday. Interested in hearing about how television, and other activities might play into the promo leading up to the 22nd.

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Yardbarker Taps ESPN Sales Veteran Tim Ware as VP PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 16 April 2008 10:01

YardbarkerYardbarker, the online sports community and branded vertical ad network, announced today that it has hired digital sales veteran Tim Ware as Vice President of Advertising Sales.

The Business of Sports Network (Bizball LLC) has recently signed on as a partner in the Yardbarker Network.

With nearly 20 years experience in the electronic media space, including the last nine with ESPN Internet Group, Ware has been charged with ramping up Yardbarker's advertising business and has opened the company's New York office. He will report directly to CEO Pete Vlastelica. The hire comes just two weeks after Yardbarker closed its $6 million Series B round of financing, led by Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Ware's first job at ESPN was managing advertising sales for league sites, NFL.com, NBA.com and NASCAR.com. Before joining ESPN, Ware held Sales Manager positions for NHL.com and Internet start-up, InterZine productions. Prior to working in the Internet business, Ware negotiated national, regional and local sports sponsorships on behalf of McCann-Erickson and Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.

"As the Yardbarker Network continues to grow we have been focused on building our sales team and we are thrilled to land someone as accomplished as Tim Ware," Vlastelica said. "Tim has a highly successful track record in digital media sales and understands our business perfectly. He is the ideal person to lead our sales efforts and to open our New York office."

Yardbarker's reports that growth over the past 12 months has dramatic, reaching more than six million unique users in February across 300 independent sports sites in the Yardbarker Network. Celebrity athlete bloggers, including Donovan McNabb, Baron Davis, Dontrelle Willis, and Greg Oden provide content to Yardbarker. Current advertising clients include 2K Sports, vitaminwater, and Sony PlayStation, among other major brands.

"In all of my years in the electronic media space on the buying or selling side, I have not experienced an offering like Yardbarker," Ware said. "Yardbarker offers a very unique sales proposition, combining the best of the sports blogosphere, star athletes and social media that enablesadvertisers to reach a large and elusive audience not found through traditional outlets. Yardbarker also affords its advertising partners social currency through its content offerings, which remains an important and big opportunity for brands trying to stake a claim in the new media environment. Our fans know the score; they crave more when they visit the Yard. It's a very exciting proposition."


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