There will probably be local streaming in 15 markets next year

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For years Major League Baseball and broadcasters have been haggling over the availability of online streaming of local games. Sure, you can get MLB.tv and stream out of market games, but if you live in Detroit and want to watch the Tigers online, sorry, you’re out of luck.

Part of the reason the haggling has taken so long is that both MLB and the affiliate networks want the ability to be the platform on which you watch locally streamed games. MLB says it wants to ensure the quality of the stream and MLB video quality is very good. Local affiliates say they don’t want to give up customer information to MLB to allow the authentication process to be completed (this isn’t an anyone-can stream situation; you have to prove that you actually have cable first). It’s been a standoff for some time.

At least until now, at least for teams which broadcast on Fox affiliates. From Sports Buisness Journal:

Several industry sources said 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.

If you’re in one of those markets, you’ll watch it via the website or platform of your Fox affiliate. Which means MLB blinked and won’t host those local streams. Presumably, if this goes down as expected, MLB will eventually do deals with the other 15 local rights holders, some of which are other cable companies like Comcast, some of which are team-owned like YES Network and some of them are regional sports networks.

Still can’t cut the cord completely and go cable-free and still get your local team’s games, but this is, at the very least, a step forward.

No lease extension, but O’s and governor tout partnership

orioles camden yards
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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.