By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Major League Baseball could start streaming regional San Diego Padres broadcasts on ESPN+, according to a new article from New York Post’s Andrew Marchand.
Diamond Sports, the owner of 18 Bally Sports regional sports networks, last week gave up the regional broadcast rights to the Padres when it decided to no longer pay the team its regular fee. (Diamond Sports declared bankruptcy in March and is trying to reorganize its assets.) After that decision, Major League Baseball took over the broadcasts, putting them on MLB.TV ($19.99 a month and $74.99 for the season) and select pay TV services.
However, it would appear the league isn’t satisfied with the reach and possible revenue those two sources will generate. Marchand writes that putting the games on ESPN+, a subscription streaming service, is under consideration. ESPN+, which has more than 25 million national subscribers, would only make the games available in the San Diego market by using a technology called geofencing.
Geofencing is a technology that allows you to create virtual boundaries or “fences” around a specific geographic area. These virtual boundaries can be defined using GPS, RFID (Radio Frequency Identification), Wi-Fi, or cellular data. Geofencing works by utilizing the location services of mobile devices or other tracking systems to trigger specific actions or notifications when a device enters or exits a predefined area.
The Padres to ESPN+ move could be a forerunner to what Major League Baseball would do with other teams that lose their RSN partners. Diamond Sports is also contemplating whether to jettison the rights to the Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers.
There’s no indication when MLB will make its decision on ESPN+, which Marchand writes would receive a commission from sales of Padres subscriptions.
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— Phillip Swann