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
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.