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NY Post

MLB Gives Up on Buying Regional Sports Networks

Apr 19, 2019  •  Post A Comment

Major League Baseball is abandoning its dream of becoming the operator of a nationwide chain of sports channels, The New York Post reports, citing unnamed sources.

As Disney wraps up its auction of 21 regional sports networks, “MLB has resigned itself to becoming a minority investor,” the story reports. The league had hoped to gain control of the RSNs.

The report quotes a source close to the talks saying: “MLB preferred majority but have come to the conclusion that it is not going to be possible and they want to be part of a consortium.”

The Post adds: “MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred surprised media executives in November when he jumped into the auction. At the time, sources close to MLB said the league was angling to centralize the media rights of MLB’s various teams, boosting its ability to resell games to a fast-growing array of online streaming services.

“The problem: MLB is owned by the 30 teams it encompasses — and those teams want to charge the RSNs as much as they can for the rights to broadcast their games.”

One Comment

  1. This is a huge huge shortsighted mistake by the baseball team owners. Their greed and short-sightedness will bankrupt many teams in about 10 years, because the owners want to keep milking the RSN’s…and they are a dying distribution system. More and more people are, and will be, eliminating cable system subscriptions and going to apps like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, CBS All Access, and even MLB.TV. …So the whole model of “bundling” channels like RSN’s onto cable system bills, is going away. And so will the huge paydays that the owners get from the RSN’s. Add to that the fact that most Major League ballparks are 50% or more empty every game– that demonstrates that the vast majority of people are not interested in watching baseball right now. So the owners SHOULD have urgently been looking for more modern ways to get their product distributed and thereby promoted– and that is digital and streaming, not regional cable sports networks. Short-sightedness on behalf of the owners. And it’s tough to tell now who is greedier– the owners, or the players. Both only care about “right here, right now” and the immediate money in front of them.

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