Postseason Baseball Draws Viewers, Nearly $109M In TV Ad Spend

Major League Baseball’s 2021 postseason has scored well to date, in terms of overall average viewers per game — up 1% this year versus 2019. The Nielsen-measured postseason has averaged 3.67 million per game for 29 total games versus 2019 — wild card, divisional and league championship series games post-season contests. This year is also up 62% versus a year ago, when it averaged 2.3 million viewers.

MLB, Barstool Sports In Talks To Air Games

Major League Baseball and Barstool Sports have had significant negotiations about having national midweek games on the site’s platforms. The discussions are what Barstool founder Dave Portnoy was referring to last week when he mentioned his company has had talks with “major leagues.”

Judge: MLB All-Star Game To Stay In Denver

MLB Sued For $100M After Pulling All-Star Game From Atlanta

A pro-business group filed a federal lawsuit on Monday against Major League Baseball, claiming it had no right to move the All-Star Game from Atlanta in protest of Georgia’s restrictive voting law. An Addison, Texas-based organization called Job Creators Network said “thousands of hard-working ordinary men and women in the Atlanta area” had been banking on proceeds from this year’s All-Star Game before: “Defendants took this all away in the blink of an eye.”

MLB To RSNs: It’s Time To Think Direct-To-Consumer

Major League Baseball is considering a rule change that cord cutters can cheer. After years of relying on traditional distribution of local games via cable and satellite (plus, to a limited extent, over-the-top streaming), MLB is now urging its regional sports networks to explore direct-to-customer possibilities for local fans.

MLB Moves All-Star Game To Denver

MLB decided to move the game from Truist Park in Atlanta in response to Georgia voting changes signed into law by Republican Gov. Brian Kemp on March 25. Critics, including the CEOs of Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, have condemned the changes as being too restrictive.

MLB Announces 60-Game Season For 2020

Major League Baseball is set to return. The MLB Players Association informed the league on Tuesday that players will comply with commissioner Rob Manfred’s imposed outline for a 2020 season. Players are set report for another version of “spring” training on July 1, and the league’s imposed 60-game season will start either July 23 or 24, the league announced.

MLB’s Manfred: Baseball Season In Jeopardy

There might be no Major League Baseball games this year after a breakdown in talks between teams and the players’ union on how to split up money in a season delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.

MLB Owners OK Plan To Start Season In July

Major League Baseball owners approved a proposal that commissioner Rob Manfred plans to present to players Tuesday on a return-to-play scenario that aims to have baseball back in home stadiums by early July, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN. The meeting between MLB and the MLB Players Association on Tuesday will set the stage for what both parties expect to be a contentious negotiation.

MLB Details First 3 Live Games On YouTube

Major League Baseball and YouTube on Wednesday released details of the first three matchups under their agreement to stream a package of 13 live games every week on the video-sharing website.

MLB Ends Bid To Buy Disney’s RSNs

Major League Baseball won’t get a shot at controlling the nation’s regional sports TV networks, after all. MLB has resigned itself to becoming a minority investor — as Disney wraps up its auction of the 21 RSNs — giving up on a dream to become the operator of a nationwide chain of sports-focused TV channels.

MLB, MGM Strike Legal Gambling Deal

MGM Resorts International became Major League Baseball’s official gambling partner in the U.S. and Japan, a deal made as the sport tries to ensure more prevalent legal sports betting does not lead to any scandals of the type sparked by illegal wagers in its past.

Fox, Major League Baseball In New Rights Pact

Major League Baseball and 21st Century Fox signed a new rights agreement that will keep the national pastime’s biggest games on Fox Sports and Fox Broadcasting for the next several years. Under the terms of the pact, Fox Sports and Fox Deportes maintain exclusive television broadcast rights to the World Series, one League Championship Series, two Division Series and the All-Star Game.

TVN FOCUS ON SALES

Post-Season Baseball A Hit With Advertisers

Fox and TBS aren’t talking dollars, but they say they have sold about 90% of their inventory, more than had at this point last year, with modest rate increases. While MLB telecasts have the oldest median age of the four major sports, the World Series is still a major desired destination for some of the biggest-spending advertisers. While network officials would not discuss ad rates for the playoffs and World Series, media buyers say Fox is getting about $500,000 per 30-second spot.

Twitter Signs New Streaming Deal With MLB

Roughly one week into the 2018 Major League Baseball season, Twitter has announced a renewed deal with the league to livestream a game per week on its social media platform.

Facebook In Deal To Stream 25 MLB Games

The games will be available to Facebook users in the U.S. on Facebook Watch, the company’s video feature announced last August, via the MLB Live show page. Facebook said Friday that recorded broadcasts will also be available globally, excluding select international markets.

YouTube TV Renews MLB Marketing Pact

MLB Makes Pitch To Speed Up Games

Major League Baseball has unveiled rule changes designed to speed up the pace of games, including limiting visits to the pitcher’s mound and shaving the time between innings. The moves come after the average length of a nine-inning game last season grew more than four minutes year-over year to 3 hours, 5 minutes and 11 seconds.

Alex Rodriguez Joins ESPN’s Sun. Night Baseball

Facebook To Show 20 MLB Games Live

Facebook has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20 of the league’s games live this season in an agreement that expands the social media network further into the world of live programming. Facebook said Thursday that it would stream one game a week beginning on Friday, and the broadcasts would be available to everyone on Facebook in the United States.

Baseball Hall Of Fame To Honor ‘The Simpsons’

MLB May Play Ball In New Place: Facebook

The league is in talks with the social network to stream a weekly game, a first for Facebook, which is pushing into livestreaming sports just like rival Twitter.

Major League Baseball Assists Fox’s ‘Pitch’

As a self-described baseball geek, writer-producer Dan Fogelman was eager to take on Pitch, Fox’s new drama about the first woman to become a major league player. But he had one big concern. “I said, ‘If we don’t get Major League Baseball to sign on as partners, I don’t think we can do the show,’ “

Orioles, MASN Brief Claims MLB ‘Systemic Bias’

MLB To Allow Single-Team Streaming Deals

Major League Baseball has agreed to sell single-team streaming rights to fans across the country. The agreement came as part of a legal settlement on the day MLB was to stand trial for alleged antitrust violations.

MLB Finally Allows Authenticated Streaming

Major League Baseball, which has previously taken a miserly approach to extending TV Everywhere rights to regional sports networks, is softening its stance just a bit on authenticated streaming.

JESSELL AT LARGE

What Caused Baseball’s Ratings Slide?

It’s facile to suggest that football’s popularity is up and baseball’s is down because football stuck with broadcasting and baseball migrated to cable. Many other factors are surely involved. But I think the choice of medium has certainly been a factor, maybe a big one.

MLB, Fox Break Impasse In Streaming Talks

Local streaming is coming to many Major League Baseball markets next season, thanks to a breakthrough in the league’s long-running negotiations with Fox Sports. Several industry sources say the league is drafting deal documents with Fox, which holds the local media rights to 15 MLB teams. An agreement to offer authenticated local streaming of live games is expected to be in place by the start of the 2016 season.

MLB In $600M Pact For NHL TV, Streaming

Green Light For Class-Action Sports Suit

Judge Shira Scheindlin said Thursday all fans with some appetite for watching hockey and baseball broadcasts are affected by league policies requiring consumers to buy all league games rather than just the games of one team or a few teams.

MLB Mulls Spinning Off Its Streaming Biz

MLB Advance Media, Major League Baseball’s technology arm, could spin off  its streaming business, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal. The division powers the league’s MLB.tv, the WWE Network, Sony’s Playstation Vue and is set to be the base for HBO’s standalone streaming service. The league wants to keep control over the service, which could be valued at more than $5 billion. WSJ subscribers can read the full story here.

So Far, World Series Not A Huge TV Draw

This week, more people watched NCIS: New Orleans and The Big Bang Theory, and — for that matter — The Walking Dead, the AMC show about zombies. The audience for Sunday Night Football, a regular season game between the San Francisco 49ers and the Denver Broncos, was almost twice that of the first two games of the series.

Video Blackouts Impede Baseball Online

Television channels pay a lot for rights to cover games, and they don’t want to lose audiences to computers or mobile apps. As a result, fans who pay $20 or more a month for baseball’s online video package, MLB.TV, are blocked from games involving hometown teams.

Rob Manfred Elected Next MLB Commissioner

The 55-year-old Manfred, who has worked for Major League Baseball in roles with ever-increasing authority since 1998, will take over from the 80-year-old Bud Selig on Jan. 25, 2015.

RUMOR MILL

Disney’s Iger Could Be Next MLB Commish

Disney boss Bob Iger is firmly in Major League Baseball’s potential lineup of new commissioner candidates, according to sources. The Disney chairman and CEO — who oversees ABC and ESPN as part of his role — is a favorite of the league’s succession committee, sources say, which is trying to find a replacement for Bud Selig before he steps down at the end of his contract Jan. 24.

MLB Leads Off Season With New Campaign

A salute to opening day will start the effort, by BBDO New York, which will focus on young stars and how attending games can provide lifetime memories.

MLB Says It’s Exempt From Class-Action Suit

The sports league joins Comcast and DirecTV in demanding an end to a lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to keep out-of-market games priced high and in-market games off of the Internet.

MTV And MLB Announce Partnership

MTV Networks and Major League Baseball said today they are collaborating on a weekly 30-episode series that melds pop culture and baseball. The untitled series will likely air on MTV2, which tends to have a higher proportion of male viewers than its sister station.

COMMENTARY BY BOB RAISSMAN

It Was Time For Tim McCarver To Step Down

While we believe McCarver was actually forced out by the Foxies, it was still time for him to go. Not because he had lost his fearless approach or his uncanny ability to first-guess better than any TV analyst in any sport. And not because he had lost his enthusiasm for preparation. Or his curiosity, either. It was getting harder for Tim McCarver to be Tim McCarver.

 

Tim McCarver: Showing Rose Footage Discouraged