By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man –@tvanswerman
Major League Baseball has had discussions with ESPN about streaming some local baseball games in select markets, the Wall Street Journal reports. The New York Post last June also reported the possibility of the sports network hosting regional games for the league.
Both ESPN and MLB are investigating various business alternatives with the network concerned about declining pay TV subscriptions and the league dealing with the Diamond Sports RSN (regional sports network) bankruptcy and Warner Bros Discovery’s decision to get rid of its AT&T RSNs by year’s end. WSJ writes that some regional MLB games, perhaps those no longer carried by Diamond Sports or the AT&T RSNs, could be included on ESPN+’s $9.99 a month streaming service. Diamond Sports has ended its TV deals with the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks and the league now handles the broadcasts.
“ESPN could offer those games as an add-on to its $9.99-a-month ESPN+ service, but it isn’t interested in paying a big fee for the media rights, as TV broadcasters have done. ESPN sees the potential for similar arrangements with other pro sports leagues,” the newspaper writes. WSJ does not say if the negotiations are likely to succeed.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand wrote last June that ESPN+ would only carry the regional games in the teams’ markets by using a technology called geofencing, which 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.
There’s no indication when MLB will make its decision on ESPN+, which Marchand writes would receive a commission from sales of team subscriptions.
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— Phillip Swann