RealTime IT News

MLB Playoffs Go Pay-Per-View Online

Major League Baseball's MLB.com will hawk live pay-per-view webcasts of the playoffs this year but the new service is only available to fans overseas.

A month after putting live streams of its games on cellphones nationwide, MLB.com is again pushing the streaming media envelope in partnership with Seattle-based RealNetworks .

The New York-based Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), which runs the portal, first tested a live webcast of a full game last month when the New York Yankees hosted the Texas Rangers and, banking on the smoothness (and popularity) of that beta, the site is now moving full-speed to sell the service in overseas markets not covered by television rights owned by the networks.

In order to protect broadcast rights, the live webcasts are not available in the U.S or from Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Japan.

The total Worldwide Webcasts package, which offers a minimum of 24 postseason games, is priced at $19.95 and MLB.com said it would be streamed in 300K broadband video format.

For RealNetworks, which already has a pay-per-view deal to stream live college football games in partnership with FOXSports.com, the MLB.com webcasts adds credibility to its efforts to make money in the struggling streaming media sector.

Live pay-per-view streams of sporting events have become a surefire way to make money from online webcasts, especially those that enjoy exclusivity. Pro basketball games have already been streamed live from NBA.com and live cricket games involving international teams are a staple on the Internet.