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MLB.com and NHL Partner to Package MLB.TV & NHL GameCenter PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 09 February 2009 10:18

NHL GameCenter LIVE

MLB, meet the NHL. A partnership between MLB.com
and the National Hockey League will package MLB.TV
with the NHL's GameCenter LIVE (seen here) in a
first of its kind partnership.

MLB.com and the National Hockey League (NHL) today announced a partnership that will make available each league’s live online streaming product, MLB.TV Premium and NHL GameCenter LIVE, respectively, through a bundled subscription. This special bundle for United States residents will be available for a one-time fee of $139.95 beginning Monday, February 16 at MLB.com and NHL.com.

Earlier this month, MLB.TV went on-sale with its full-season package (March-October 2009) for $109.95, a $10 discount off the 2008 yearly pricing, and the NHL will launch its standalone Race for the Cup streaming product on February 16 for $79.95.

This first-of-its-kind content partnership will allow subscribers to watch every regular season game, more than 100 Spring Training games and the first two rounds of the World Baseball Classic in 2009, via MLB.com, and up to 40 out-of-market NHL games per week for the remainder of the current regular season as well as select Stanley Cup Playoffs games, via NHL.com (blackout and other restrictions apply).

“We believe this partnership with the NHL is an important initial step in the future of online subscription programming for valuable content providers,” said Bob Bowman, MLB.com President and Chief Executive Officer.

“We couldn't be more excited about this tremendous opportunity to introduce our groundbreaking NHL Game Center LIVE experience to an even bigger audience,” said NHL Chief Operating Officer John Collins. “MLB.com has built a great business by engaging their audience with a best-in-breed product. This partnership is all about our mutual commitment to deliver world class digital sports experiences to sports fans everywhere.”

MLB.TV, now in its seventh season with over a million total subscribers since its inception and 500,000 in 2008 alone, will introduce significant upgrades to its Premium product in 2009. The new MLB.TV Premium will feature proprietary speed detection allowing a hi-definition quality picture on any screen size; live game DVR functionality; live game picture-in-picture capabilities; multi-game viewing options; home and away feeds for every available game; live game radio option; and real-time player tracker alerts for live at-bat look-ins.

(see more on new features for MLB.TV)

NHL GameCenter LIVE streams up to 40 games per week (blackout and other restrictions apply), and is specifically designed for those avid fans looking for the most complete, in-game NHL viewing experience, as well as for the nearly 50 percent of NHL fans that live away from their favorite team’s local television market and crave more live game coverage. NHL GameCenter LIVE surrounds these avid hockey fans with TV-quality streaming video, multiple and exclusive camera angles, multi-games views, real-time stats, chat and much more.

(see more on GameCenter LIVE on The Biz of Hockey)

Source: MLB.com

 
MLB.TV Sees New Features, Lower Prices for 2009 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Friday, 06 February 2009 01:26

MLB.TV Premium Features for 2009

MLB.TV Premium will see several new features for 2009,
including "DVR" functionality. Fans will also see prices down
$10 from last year for the streaming video package.

MLB.com has rolled out the latest offerings of their streaming-video package for out-of-market games via MLB.TV and MLB.TV Premium, adding new functionality, and at a lower price than last year.

Fans will find the price of both online packages down $10 from 2008, showing that MLB is working to pull in subscribers that are being hit by the downturn in the economy. The new prices will be $109.95 for the season, or $19.95 a month, for MLB.TV Premium, while MLB.TV will be $79.95 for the season, or $14.95 a month

The lower price is being coupled with key upgrades for MLB.TV Premium.

The biggest wow-factor for 2009 is a DVR-like function that will allow you to pause, rewind, and fast-forward live game feeds.

Picture quality continues to approach near broadcast grade for those that have high-speed internet access. MLB.com tells The Biz of Baseball that "proprietary speed detection will allow those customers that have high-speed access to enjoy an HD quality picture on any size monitor."

You now have the option of watching up to four games or highlights simultaneously, and use picture-in-picture via a secondary window. Where available, you will be able to watch or listen to either the home or away team's broadcasts. Also, where available, fans can now choose whether they want to listen to the radio or TV announcers of each game.

Other features include...

  • Live Game Highlights
    Real-time highlights and player stats automatically load into the media player. Simply click on a highlight and the clip instantly launches in a Picture in Picture window.
  • Player Tracker
    Customize alerts to feature entire fantasy rosters or players that you are interested in. You will be notified any time a listed player is on deck.  Simply click the real-time alert and watch live at-bat look-ins.
  • Live Game Chat
    Comment on the action with either friends or rivals as games are played.

The biggest technical change, however, comes by way of the player used to watch games. MLB.com’s agreement to use Microsoft’s Silverlight player has ended, and in its place, an agreement to use Adobe’s Flash Player will be used. Along with the new player, engineers have been working under the covers to the system. MLB.com tells The Biz of Baseball that upon launch of the new system, it will automatically detect a user's location and thus determine instantly whether or not the user is authorized to access the requested game.

A free demo of the new features and picture quality is available online. MLB.com has said that the media player is still in development leading up to opening day of the 2009 season.


Maury BrownMaury 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.

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What Will MLBNetwork.com and the Latest Version of "At Bat" Offer in 2009? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Monday, 24 November 2008 01:31

MLB Network

You have probably heard about the
MLB Network by now, but what will
MLBNetwork.com be like?

With the introduction of MLB.com’s "At Bat" application for iPhone this past season, and the upcoming rollout of the MLB Network, baseball fans are being treated to new connections never before available to get their baseball fix. On the move or at home, not only are games available, but a host of content is available that adds value to watching games almost anywhere.

When it comes to digital offerings (internet and mobile technology), what does 2009 offer? Here are some possibilities on the horizon.

"At Bat": Could Gameday Audio be in the Future? -  By all accounts, MLB.com’s app for the Apple iPhone has been a rousing success (see The Biz of Baseball review of, At Bat). The application, introduced when Apple unveiled version 2.0 of the operating system for iPhone, has sold over 140,000 copies since mid-July of 2008. At $4.99, that translates to approximately $700,000 in revenues before any fees are paid to Apple.

While At Bat has turned into a video highlight app for the off-season, the question is what will be new for 2009? Word is that Gameday Audio (GDA) is being considered, though at this point in the off-season it’s too early to tell. Being able to get all, or even just radio, highlights of game calls would be of interest to a great many fans.

The challenges with streaming game audio involves tracking broadcast territories, and whether GDA would create issues based upon agreements with radio broadcasting partners. As the regular season approaches, one thing is certain, At Bat will have additional functionality for those with iPhone or iPod Touch technology at their disposal.

What will be Offered Online for MLB Network? – For those who don’t know, there is a skeleton of a website available for the channel that, come January, will be the biggest cable launch in history. Accessing MLBNetwork.com doesn’t offer anything more than a video teaser and press releases right now, but representatives at both MLB.com and MLB Network say there are plans to do much more with the Network’s online presence.

The question is what exactly will be offered?

At this time, representatives say it’s too early to know for certain. It's reasonable to assume schedule information will be made available, but the burning question for many without cable or satellite is whether MLB Network programming will be available online, similar to how MLB.TV is the online option for those who wish to get out-of-market games and how MLB Extra Innings is available for those with cable or DirecTV?

At this time, with MLB Network in its infancy, and MLB.com working to figure out how they fit in with the broadcast network, it may be well after launch until MLB Network’s online presence is fully fleshed out. As MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman said in an interview with BizofBaseball.com, “I think it’s too early to tell. From an editorial point of view, it’s a very different business – programming an Internet portal likes ours versus programming a cable channel.”


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.

 
MLB.com Reaches Agreement with Adobe Systems. Ends Deal with Microsoft for Silverlight PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 18 November 2008 01:53

MLB.comMLB.com and Adobe Systems Incorporated Monday announced a two-year agreement in which MLB.com has selected the Adobe Flash Platform to deliver all of its live and on-demand video offerings beginning in 2009. In addition, MLB.com will provide a downloadable rich Internet application (RIA) built using Adobe AIR, so baseball fans can access additional features outside the Web browser.

The agreement marks the end of MLBAM’s deal for Microsoft and their subscription-based Silverlight media player.

“Baseball is the nation’s favorite pastime with millions of fans watching the games each season,” said Jim Guerard, vice president and general manager of Dynamic Media at Adobe. “With Adobe Flash solutions for playback and live video streaming plus Adobe AIR to experience statistics and highlights outside the browser, we are delivering unprecedented access to every game in the baseball season, and redefining how baseball fans experience their sport.”

Throughout the 2008 season, MLB.com continued to develop and integrate new features into its live streaming product.  Among those offerings were: selecting the home or away feed for every game; presenting NexDef, a standard definition television quality picture at 1.2 megabits per second in a 16x9 widescreen format; and enhancing the Emmy Award-winning Mosaic application.

“We are excited about this partnership as Adobe provides the scalability, flexibility and reliability that fans expect from MLB.com in delivering them the best live streaming product possible,” said Bob Bowman, CEO, MLB.com. “With the ability to stream broadcast-quality video over the Internet and access a new desktop experience, baseball fans will have more options than ever to watch their favorite teams and players online.”

(Read The Biz of Baseball interview with Bob Bowman)

According to MLB Advanced Media, MLB.com streams live every Major League spring training, regular season and postseason game, more than 2,500 annually, via its out-of-market subscription product, which has seen more than 1.5 million total subscribers since its debut on Opening Day 2003. Since that time, fans have accessed more than 1.8 billion streams of live and on-demand multimedia offerings on MLB.com, representing nearly 200 million hours of participation. By the end of 2008, MLB.com will once again stream nearly 12,000 live video events, including Major League Baseball games and thousands of events for its various business partners.

Adobe Flash Player is already installed on more than 98 percent of Internet-connected desktops. According to comScore Media Metrix, 81 percent of online videos viewed worldwide are delivered using Adobe Flash technology, making it the No. 1 format for video on the Web.

Source: MLB.com


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.

 

 
NL Cy Young Winner Tim Lincecum to Grace the Cover of Major League Baseball 2K9 PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 11 November 2008 19:31

Lincecum 2K9 Cover2K Sports, the sports publishing label of Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc. , announced Tuesday that National League Cy Young Award winner, Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants, will be featured as the cover athlete and spokesman for next year's highly anticipated baseball video game, Major League Baseball 2K9. Lincecum led Major League Baseball with 265 strikeouts during the 2008 season and set a new team record in the process. He has quickly become a fan favorite and established himself as one of the most thrilling young pitchers to watch in baseball today.

“Winning the Cy Young Award is truly an amazing honor, and now having the opportunity to be on the cover of Major League Baseball 2K9 is another dream come true and an absolutely surreal experience,” said Tim Lincecum, MLB All-Star pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. “Whenever I’m hanging out at home or traveling on the road, you can find me playing video games, and I’m definitely the best gamer in the clubhouse by far. I’m incredibly stoked that 2K Sports picked me to represent Major League Baseball 2K9, and I look forward to lending my baseball knowledge to the development process.”

While attending the University of Washington, Lincecum won the coveted Golden Spikes Award which is given to the nation’s top college baseball player. He was drafted 10th overall by the San Francisco Giants in 2006. Known to fans as “The Franchise” and “The Freak”, Lincecum was named to the National League All-Star team this past season while putting up astonishing numbers and leading the Majors™ with a remarkable 265 strikeouts. Lincecum also led the National League in other key pitching categories including win percentage (18-5, .783), opponent’s batting average (.221), and strikeouts per nine innings (10.51), along with ranking second in earned run average (2.62). For all of his historic accomplishments, Lincecum won the Players’ Choice Award as the National League Outstanding Pitcher this season, along with the National League Pitcher of the Year Award from Sporting News. Both awards were voted on by his peers. More significantly, Lincecum today was named the National League Cy Young Award winner, given annually to the top pitcher in both the American League and the National League, and voted on by members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

"Tim is a special player and has the best stuff in Baseball. We couldn’t have selected a more naturally talented and exciting player to represent Major League Baseball 2K9 next season, and given that he’s an avid gamer, it will be a lot of fun working together," said Greg Thomas, senior vice president of sports development for 2K. "Visual Concepts has taken over the development of our Major League Baseball title, and we look forward to continuing to provide fans with the most authentic and high quality gameplay experience that we bring to all of our sports titles."

Major League Baseball 2K9 is being developed by Visual Concepts, a 2K Sports studio, and is not yet rated by the ESRB. Major League Baseball 2K9 will be available in early 2009 for the Xbox 360 video game and entertainment system from Microsoft, the PLAYSTATION3 and PlayStation2 computer entertainment systems, PSP (PlayStation Portable) system, and Wii home video game system from Nintendo. For more information, please visit www.2ksports.com

Source: 2K Sports


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.

 
Get Dripping Wet Again: MLB.com to Reshow Beginning of Game 5 PDF Print E-mail
Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 29 October 2008 14:13
Game Five

Want to get that all-wet feeling again? See easy popups become anything but ordinary? Relive the mayhem again.

MLB.com has announced that it will offer an exclusive archived stream of the beginning of Monday night’s World Series Game Five between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Philadelphia Phillies starting at 6:00 p.m. (EDT). At the conclusion of the on-demand stream, fans can watch the resumption of the suspended World Series Game Five live on FOX.

Source: MLB.com


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.

 

 
MLB.com Runs Multi-Platform Blitz for 104th World Series PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 22 October 2008 00:03

 At Bat

Do yourself a favor, iPhone owner. If you
don't already have "At Bat" spend $0.99
and feel the love during the World Series.

In a final blitz for the 2008 MLB season. MLB Advanced Media announced Tuesday that MLB.com will offer fans extensive multi-platform content as it chronicles the 104th World Series, featuring the National League Champion Philadelphia Phillies and the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays.

MLB.com At Bat 2008 – Now Only $0.99

MLB.com’s iPhone application provides fans the opportunity to follow the 2008 World Series live pitch-by-pitch as well as watch video previews and game highlights. It is available during the

Fall Classic for a one-time fee of $0.99 from Apple’s App Store on iPhone and iPod touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore/ in the United States, Canada and 19 other countries including Australia, France and the United Kingdom.

If you haven’t seen the Apple ads on television for At Bat, we at The Biz of Baseball highly recommend the widget. Even if you don’t plan to renew after the World Series, at $0.99 it’s a great dea.

Pennant Traces

This running series of reflective content produced by MLB.com takes a closer look at the players, managers, coaches and executives who are helping to make the 2008 postseason memorable.

Gameday MLB.com Live World Series Programming (all times Eastern)

11:00 am: 2008 World Series Preview – Looking ahead to the Fall Classic with features, news, analysis and pre-game press conferences.

5:00 pm: 2008 World Series Live – Live batting practice look-ins, the latest news and exclusive reports from MLB.com’s New York studios and the ballpark.

8:00 pm: 2008 World Series In-Game – MLB.com will follow all of the action with breaking news and updates.

Post-Game: 2008 World Series Rewind – Recapping every game with post-game press conferences, recaps and exclusive reports from the ballpark.

Other World Series Content Highlights:

  • A daily compilation of print stories chronicling each club and the day’s events.
  • Blogs from Phillies outfielder Shane Victorino and Rays first baseman Carlos Pena.
  • Live updates from the Fall Classic on MLBlogs.com.
  • Connect with other fans during each Fall Classic game through MLB.com Live Chat.
  • Photo galleries featuring compelling moments of World Series present and past.

Source: MLB Advanced 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.

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.

 
Yahoo! Sports Passes ESPN as Most Popular U.S. Website in Sept. PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Tuesday, 14 October 2008 23:29
Yahoo SportsShowing that you don’t need television (ESPN, FOX) or a legendary magazine (Sports Illustrated) to create a wildly popular sports web presence, Yahoo! Sports inched past ESPN in September to rank as the top U.S. sports website according to Nielsen Online.

Coming in a distant third was FOX Sports on MSN at 16,023,000 unique visits, followed by the NFL Internet Network and CBS Sports.

All told, a total of audience 77.5 million unique visitors hit U.S. sports-related websites last month.

Below is a break down of the top U.S. sports websites as tracked by Nielsen Online.

 RANK  WEBSITEUNIQUE AUDIENCE
(in 000s)

 1 Yahoo! Sports 26,003
 2 ESPN 22,834
 3 FOX Sports on MSN 16,023
 4 NFL Internet Network 15,037
 5 CBS Sports 13,278

 Source: Nielsen Online, NetView (September 1, 2008 - September 30, 2008)


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.

 
The Empire Strikes (Again). Star Wars Ads Invade MLB.com PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Thursday, 04 September 2008 19:27

 

Star Wars ads on MLB.com

 

A few short months ago, the baseball community was abuzz regarding the integrated advertisement for Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull within MLB.com’s schedule of games.

Now, get ready for Darth Vader.

MLBAM has rolled out the next integrated advertisement campaign on MLB.com for LucasArts Entertainment’s new video game “Star Wars: The Force Unleashed.”

Like the Indiana Jones ad campaign, Darth Vader will be featured on all 30 clubs’ schedule on MLB.com.

But, unlike the Indiana Jones campaign, the LucasArts Entertainment deal will see a special landing page showing current stats leaders around the league under the tagline, “Who’s Unleashing the Force?” as well as banner ads linking to the Star Wars: The Forced Unleashed” home page.


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.

 
For Remainder of Season, MLB.TV Available on Pay-Per-Day Basis PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Maury Brown   
Wednesday, 03 September 2008 13:48
MLB.comMLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball, today announced that it is offering its premier live video streaming product on a pay-per-day basis exclusively on MLB.com for the duration of the regular season.

Fans can now catch games for a single day through MLB.TV Premium for $7.95 per day. The service is also available for $19.95 for the remainder of the season, including the postseason.

MLB.TV Premium provides viewers with the following features:
  • TV-Quality Picture with NexDef - a 1.2 megabits per second stream with a 16x9 widescreen format
  • Enhanced video player with three different viewing options
  • PC and Mac compatible
  • Every 2008 regular season out-of-market game live or on-demand
  • Access to MLB.TV Mosaic, application for viewing up to six games simultaneously
  • Subscription to Gameday Audio, including entire postseason
  • Access to archived and Condensed Games

Source: MLB Advanced 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.

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.

 
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