Finally, A MLB Team Gets A Deal For In-Market Online Streaming

from the water-stone-etc. dept

Major League Baseball has long contended that fans should watch games in the manner in which it chooses, rather than how the fans themselves want to. This is the thinking behind its local blackout policies, first intended to "protect" ticket sales by not allowing the TV broadcast of games that weren't sold out, and lately, intended to "protect" local TV broadcasts by making it impossible for fans to watch their local team online. It takes the blackouts so seriously that it's even patented a way to black out local users from online streams, an absurd show of pride in something that basically just frustrates fans and customers. But there may be some cracks appearing in the local online blackouts, as the New York Yankees, Cablevision and MLB have reached a deal for in-market streaming of games. At first glance, the negotiations sound pretty convoluted, especially considering the Yankees own a stake in YES, the local TV rightsholder. But not surprisingly, the result -- that people in the Yankees' local market can only buy the online subscription if they're Cablevision subscribers that get the YES network in their cable package -- seems like it's par for the course for MLB, which has a penchant for trying to lock down everything baseball-related online.

The amount of baseball that's broadcast on TV has boomed over the past couple of decades, having escaped the thinking that making the game harder for fans to follow on TV was somehow actually good for it. Now, the same thing is playing out online, where MLB seems hellbent on frustrating fans who want to see all of their teams' games online. What makes online different than TV, in that putting up these walls in front of the game's most dedicated fans is somehow a good thing?

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    iyogi (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 9:26pm

    Those ideas primarily call for online and mobile access as part of the fee a subscriber already pays for that programming, while this is perceived as a new revenue stream requiring a separate subscription. In essence, it looks like subscribers who already have access to the games on TV will have to pay twice for the privilege.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Hiccup, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 10:06pm

    To bad it's the Yankees...

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    Freedom, Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:03pm


    In one way you can appreciate them trying to make the games seem more valuable by limiting access to it. On the other hand, make it "too valuable" and no one will buy.

    We have a considerable amount of movies in our movie collection (north of a 5000 movies - we got a lot of bulk deals from people selling their collections), and the interesting thing is that while we have all these movies in our collection, yet we almost never pull one to watch. We will instead watch what we come across via surfing on DTV even if we hit the movie at a mid-way point. There is some really weird psychology of something "live" versus pulling something from your collection.

    With that in mind, some restriction/value isn't necessarily a bad thing for maximizing your business model. You have to justify someone spending their time and potentially money with you and controlling the market is a way to do that. If you have access everywhere and anytime, then it isn't nearly as special or worthy of your time.

    Just thinking out loud.


    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 9th, 2009 @ 11:39pm

    Re: Interesting...

    In one way you can appreciate them trying to make the games seem more valuable by limiting access to it.

    Restricting access to an infinite good doesn't make it more valuable, it makes it less valuable.

    Real scarcity can create value. Artificial scarcity does not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 4:20am

    Re: Re: Interesting...

    Are you suggesting that a baseball game is an infinite good?

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 5:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Interesting...

    When streamed over the Internet, yeah I would argue that MLB games would be infinite good, in that everybody on earth who wanted to see a particular game could.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Stephen, Jun 10th, 2009 @ 10:22am

    streaming and blackouts

    Local games are not blacked out from streams. Streams of the local coverage is blacked out. You can still stream the away team's coverage, which, if you've ever heard the Yankees' crummy announcers on TV and radio, is invariably better, especially if the Yankees are playing the Sox and you can listen to Remy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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