Major League Baseball, the first U.S. sport to have its own streaming service, is now trying to solve issues created by the streaming era.
The league has hired Sinclair executive Billy Chambers to a new position tasked with determining how best to manage the league’s backbone relationship with local media.
- MLB has long relied on regional sports networks to broadcast the bulk of its games.
- Sinclair bought around 20 networks from Disney in 2019 for more than $10 billion. Since then, it has written down the market value of the debt from that purchase twice as cable subscriptions dwindle.
- Cable subscriptions peaked at 105 million in 2010, but have dropped around 5% per year since 2019 and now sit at 72.2 million.
MLB is reportedly looking into creating a streaming offering that would allow fans to watch both local and out-of-market games. Its MLB.tv service blacks out games available on local and national broadcasts where the viewer is located.
Rise of the Robots
The league will use an automated strike zone in all 30 Class AAA parks in 2023.
Half of AAA games will have all calls made by the automated system, while the other will use a challenge system similar to that of professional tennis.
Successful trials could lead to one of those systems being adopted at the Major League level.