Major League Baseball and Fox are finalizing a deal that will allow local live streams of games in 15 markets, reports Sports Business Journal's John Ourand and Eric Fisher.
Fox, which holds the local media rights to 15 MLB teams through its regional sports networks, will air the games on RSN websites, the FoxSports Go app, as well as apps and websites of cable and satellite providers.
Currently, MLB.tv users located within the broadcast area of their local team are blacked out from accessing live game streams online. The Toronto Blue Jays are the only team currently live streaming local games.
MLB long sought to have Fox host local games through MLB.com to ensure the quality of video streams, according to the report. MLB Advanced Media, which runs MLB.tv, is often regarded as the best league-offered streaming service.
The league moved off its position games needed to be hosted on its own website, which paved the way for the new deal.
SBJ reports Fox will still be required to use MLBAM as the “vendor to manage live streams,” which in addition to a rights fee, will cost the RSNs up to high seven figures for each team.
MLB commissioner Rob Manfred prioritized making in-market streaming a reality. According to the report, he was directly involved during negotiations.
The deal is expected to be finalized by the end of this season.
- Rohan Nadkarni