Streaming platforms vie for MLB broadcast deals this season as opening day takes the plate
The Yahoo Finance Live team discusses the competition for Major League Baseball games by the streaming platforms as the 2023 season gets underway.
- Today is Opening Day in Major League Baseball. There are some major rule changes on the field, like the 20 second pitch clock that could be a game changer. You'll need to be aware also of the league's streaming options. If you want to catch all the action, Apple TV+ will begin streaming the second season of its Friday night baseball broadcast on April 7. However, unlike last year, you'll also need an Apple TV+ subscription. Currently, that's about $7 a month to tune in.
But Apple not the only tech giant stepping to the plate. Amazon's Prime will also exclusively broadcast 20 Yankees games this season after broadcasting 21 last year. That will come at no additional cost to Prime members in the Yankees home market. And the first such games take place on April 4. Peacock will stream several Sunday games. ESPN+ will also get in the streaming MLB games this season as well, Seana.
- And there could be even more changes on the horizon. That's because Diamond Sports Group, the Sinclair subsidiary, broadcasting games for 14 MLB teams under the Bally Sports brand filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this month. Now, Diamond must continue to pay each club their rights fees or teams could break their contracts with the MLB, potentially taking over broadcasting duties. Lots of changes in store for this season, at least when it comes to broadcasting.
But we know-- my biggest issue with baseball is the time. So maybe the pitch clock is going to help speed up the games. Clearly, that has been the case during the preseason. But still, a couple of hours for a game. I think that's the biggest issue facing baseball right now, clearly.
- I don't know if they're going to convince you. But I think others that are closer to the middle. It's going to be a little bit quicker, not an overwhelming change. So far, spring training games are 26 minutes faster, which is a huge difference. I think it'll make the game feel a lot faster. But we alluded to these massive streaming changes that are really going to be interesting how it takes because you remember when Aaron Judge was in pursuit of the home run record last year, a lot of fans really took issue with not being able to see some games because they don't have streaming platforms.
Major League Baseball fans tend to skew a bit older and more traditional and don't have streaming platform subscriptions. So it's going to be an evolution. But MLB has to get there. Every other sport is. Really curious about that Diamond Sports development. That is 14 teams. And they do plan to continue broadcasting games. But at some point, you're going to need 14 streaming deals or somebody to really step up to the plate with a massive financial commitment.
- But my question to you, though, is, yes, maybe this pitch clock is going to help speed up the game, but they need to do something to capture Gen Z, to capture your kids. You've talked time and time again how your kids don't have the interest in watching a full game. And that's in fast-paced sports. So you move that over to the MLB. And now it's on streaming networks, which you think would then appeal to Gen Z. I don't think they're going to be watching. And I think that's a massive issue for baseball. And the fact that the popularity has really fallen off a cliff.
- TikTok. It's TikTok.
- Baseball on TikTok.
- Everything needs to go in the direction of TikTok. They do watch a lot of baseball highlights. They are putting forward a lot of interesting superstars that get the social media. They get they want some swagger on the field. So I think it's going to get there. You're not going to see a lot of Gen Z kids sitting down and watching three-hour games.
- Going to the games are fun.
- They may not need that. You're seeing TV deals continue to escalate. You're seeing team valuations continue to go through the roof. Overall, it's a pretty healthy situation for baseball. Record revenue last year.
- Which is pretty incredible, given everything that's going on.