Major League Baseball, which has previously taken a miserly approach to extending TV Everywhere rights to regional sports networks, is softening its stance just a bit on authenticated streaming.
The league said it has struck a three-year deal with Fox regional sports networks, allowing Fox's 15 RSN channels to live-stream games in-market next season. That means, for example, that a Los Angeles resident can watch the Angels spoil another solid pitching performance with a lack of timely hitting and run production on his iPad, in home or out, using the Fox Sports Go app.
Fans residing in the markets of the Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and World Series Champion Kansas City Royals will also be able to live-stream games.
This is not something that will help cord-cutters, of course, as the RSN streams will require standard authentication of paid-up cable, satellite or telco subscription status.
The agreement between MLB and Fox's RSNs doesn't come as a total surprise. The Sports Business Journal reported over the summer that Fox RSNs would gain long-sought steaming access to pro baseball games, but would hand over the technical engineering component to baseball's lauded streaming shop, MLB Advanced Media. MLBAM representatives didn't immediately respond to questions from FierceCable on the company's role in the new announcement.
For now, the agreement leaves markets with teams contracted with RSNs outside the Fox Sports umbrella out of the proverbial batting order. For example, a Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) subscriber in Los Angeles won't be able to stream TWC SportsNet LA's live coverage of Dodgers games.
Major League Baseball is last to the plate with authenticated streaming. The NBA, for example, has enabled RSNs that have licensing deals with its teams to perform authenticated streaming for several seasons.
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