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MLB Considers New Streaming Service to Let Fans Watch Local Teams Without Cable

By

Andrew Cohen


Major League Baseball is considering the launch of a streaming service that would let fans without cable watch their hometown teams in their local markets. The nationwide service could launch as early as 2023, according to the New York Post.

The streaming platform would reportedly offer the same game broadcast carried by local TV networks and would cost between $10 to $20 per month, depending on a user’s home market. MLB.TV, the league’s out-of-market service that does not allow fans to stream games within their home television territory, would continue to operate alongside this new service.

“The accurate statement would be that Sinclair does not have enough digital rights from enough clubs in order to have a viable direct-to-consumer product,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said at last week’s CAA World Congress of Sports conference. “We believe those digital rights are crucial. We want to own and control the platform on which they’re delivered, we may have partners in that process.”

The Post adds that the NBA and NHL might partner with MLB to launch the new streaming service. Complicating the league’s plans is Sinclair Broadcast Group’s desire to launch its own streaming service. Sinclair televises 14 MLB, 16 NBA and 12 NHL teams on its Bally Sports regional networks after paying $9.6 billion for those rights in 2019 as part of Disney’s sale of 21 Fox regional networks.

“They [Sinclair] paid $10 billion. It’s not clear it’s a good deal with $5 billion,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said at the World Congress of Sports. “For now, clearly, the [cable] bundle’s broken. We’re trying with them to work through those issues.”

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