Getty Images

The Disney-BamTech deal will give ESPN one game a night to stream

11 Comments

A source familiar with the big Disney-BAMTech acquisition tells NBC Sports that, as a result of the deal, Disney will get one major league game a night to stream on its new ESPN-branded streaming service. The game will be behind a pay wall. In exchange Disney will pay Major League Baseball a “significant” sum, over and above what it already pays MLB for ESPN’s broadcast rights and over and above the $1.58 billion Disney paid for the additional 42% of BAMTech it acquired. The exact figures were not disclosed.

The game will not be exclusive, meaning that fans of the local teams involved will still get the exclusive TV broadcast on their regional sports network and out-of-market MLB.tv subscribers will still get the game as well. The game will be an out-of-market game for all ESPN streaming users. It will not be the same game(s) that ESPN already broadcasts on Sunday, Monday and Wednesday nights. The source said that MLB.tv subscribers will see no difference in the product and will not have to subscribe to ESPN’s service to see the same number of games they can see now.

Given that this does not radically alter the existing baseball streaming ecosystem, it would appear that the point of the extra game a night is to give ESPN some reliable, daily actual sports content for its new platform much the way Australian Rules Football and stuff used to fill time on the ESPN network back when it first got going. And, to be clear, as a guy in his 40s who remembers it, I mean that with sincere affection. Actual live sports, even lesser sports, are preferable to studio shout-fests. At the very least, ESPN seems to be acknowledging with this deal that it can’t live on self-produced content alone.

For baseball, of course, it means a “significant” amount of money, whatever that means. But who doesn’t like the sound of that?

Baseball to honor Stoneman Douglas High School as spring training games begin

New Era
2 Comments

There were a few exhibitions against college teams yesterday but today the Grapefruit League and Cactus League schedules begin in earnest, with big league teams, more or less, facing big league team, more or less.

The baseball will look like baseball, but the teams will be wearing different caps today: black caps with the maroon “SD” of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, where 17 people were killed in a mass shooting on February 14.

All teams and umpire crews will wear the caps pre-game, and they have the option to wear the caps during the games. The only two teams not playing today — the Royals and Rangers — will wear them tomorrow.

After the games players will sign the caps and they will be auctioned off to raise money for the Broward Education Foundation, which benefits the official Stoneman Douglas Victims’ Fund.

Here’s today’s schedule: