America’s Pastime is the benchmark for Digital Tech? Say what?!?

While researching the topic for Major League Baseball use for digital media, I came across this interview from Bloomberg.com

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/videos/2014-10-24/how-the-mlb-is-transitioning-in-the-digital-age

But underneath it, I saw a Forbes.com article that said: “MLB approves New Digital Media Company Spin-off That will create Billions in New Revenues”.
So CEO and President of MLB Advanced Media (a company I didn’t know existed) mentions how the MLB “At Bat” app is the number one downloaded sports app out there today.  Then I see MLB Owners are going to make billions, with a b, off a new digital media spin-off…My head almost exploded because being a Mets fan, all I’ve been hearing for years is the ownership of the team crying from the ridiculous amount of money (that will never be accurately disclosed) they lost in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme. Making this team unable to sign major contracts.

So I did some digging.  And what I found was that the sport that was: “Too slow”, “too boring”, “dying due to lack of youth participants” and “only old people watch it”, was the King of Streaming Media!  With revenues totaling $800 milllion with targeted revenues reaching $1 billion in 2016! Key brands in corporate America hire them for content infrastructure, and are a data analytics firm that rivals Bloomberg.  Their mobile technology makes them one of Apples key partners and has been used at keynotes for their product launches!

MLB Adavanced Media or MLBAM was launched in 2000 and was funded by the 30 clubs for what was supposed to be $1 million a year each for 4 years, totaling $120 million.  But MLB’s web presence generated excess revenue in by 2003 only mdaking the cost $75 million before they started seeing a return on their investment.  They were on to something.

By 2014, the clubs were making $7-$8 million annually each.

But why?

Bowman, saw that he had something that no other professional sports league had, a massive amount of inventory.  162 games, 30 teams, there was a market for in-house streaming that could become a critical revenue stream for baseball. And that is how MLB.TV was created.

Launched in August of 2002, the first game pulled in 30,000 viewers.  The continued on with only 9 games that were pennant races during that September.  In 2003 they were able to offer a full season of games, but for only one device, PC’s.

In 2009 though, they released an update to their app, the aforementioned “At Bat” to iPhone and streaming video took off.  In 2014, this app is on over 400 devices, and will pass over 2 billion live games streamed in 720p live HD.  That is 125 million streaming live games per year.

People started drinking their Kool-Aid.

In April 2015, MLBAM enabled 100 million streams to unique viewers of these services to third-parties that are all part of a big media strategy that includes, among other things, a sizable direct to consumer offering: March Madness for Turner, Wrestlemania as part of the WWE Network, and The Blaze 24/7 linear news stream. Not to mention prize fighting pay per views, and also backend infrastructure to WatchESPN, the ESPN Mobile app for streaming live sporting events. Including the 1 million concurrent viewers during the last two Team USA World Cup matches!

But two other major things happened on top of all this and more:

Did you hear about the unprecedented, historic event this past August? It was one of the most unfathomable things to ever happen in professional sports.  Groundbreaking even!  You would think something like this would have had a major press conference and been the number one story on all of sports and regular news…

Well, instead it happened via conference call.

On August 4th, 2015 the National Hockey League (NHL) sold their media rights over to MLBAM.  That’s right, a competing sports league sold their entire media rights to another sports league.  Think about that for a second…

For $600 million, NHL would receive 7-10% equity in BAM Tech. (I will get to that in a minute) In return, MLBAM would have the rights to distribute live out of market games, including through the NHL Game CenterLIVE and NHL Center Ice Subscription services in the US and certain international markets.  MLBAM will operate NHL.com, including the seven native language sites, and each teams websites! (Teams will still have editorial control)

Forbes.com put it best when it said: “It’s here that the evolution of a media company begins to move into a larger phase.  Yes, the deal with the NHL is at its core, a pure media rights deal, bit it is the fact that MLBAM is purchasing content that is critical to understanding what is about to unfold”.

And what unfolded was approved a week later.

MLBAM’s Board of Directors, which is comprised of owners of the franchises, approved the earlier mentioned spin-off that will create billions in new revenues for MLBAM: Bam Tech.

Unlike MLBAM, Bam Tech will not focus on baseball content at all.  How MLBAM already provided “white label” solutions to HBO for HBO Now, the OTT services of the network, as well as the earlier mentioned sporting events such as March Madness and WWE.

Bam Tech seeks to be a massive content outlet that may eventually partner with the likes of Apple, or even head out on their own to negotiate with other distribution channels.

What does this mean? A whole lotta money for the owners of MLB. And not one dime is generated through baseball itself…

What does this mean to me?  Just another reason for me to bitch about the Mets not spending money this off-season.

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What came first, the chicken or the league?

I’m going to preface this post by saying, by no means am I insinuating that television would not have been successful without the National Football League.  However, like the old tv commercial promoted cheddar cheese…It just made it better.

This year, the NFL, which in my opinion owns this world of entertainment, we just live in it, is breaking new ground once again.  On October 25th, the game between the Buffalo Bills and the Jacksonville Jaguars will be played in London at Wembley Stadium.  Something the league has been doing since 2007, is going to be streamed live over the internet for free on Yahoo.com!

This is unprecedented and also possibly threatening to a medium that helped create this monster that is the NFL, television.  In turn, the NFL has give the television networks their highest ratings and highest revenue generating ad time in their history.  This may mark the beginning to the end…But first, we must understand their beginning.

In 1959, a bright, young executive to the Los Angeles Rams (yes Los Angeles actually had a football team, two actually.  Novel concept to give the 2nd largest media market a professional football team, isn’t it?) Pete Rozelle became the commissioner of the NFL.  Keep in mind that back then there were two leagues, the NFL and the AFL (American Football League) which started in 1960.

Rozelle however was a great visionary.  He saw how the future of the NFL would be tied to the rise of television, which was becoming America’s most important medium.  Think about the 1960 Presidential debates…

Rozelle knew that football was perfect for tv.  The single camera shot with a violent burst of action…perfect.  Plus, with only a few seconds of excitement followed by brief periods of commentary fit nicely with the Amercian viewers short attention span.

But how do you monetize it?

The NFL owners made their money primarily from selling game tickets.  The owners actually viewed TV as a threat because they felt increasing the television audience meant decreasing the game attendance!

Rozelle saw television as an opportunity though.  It would not only grow the game by exposing it to those unable to attend, but it could also provide its own significant revenue stream by allowing the league to sell valuable broadcast rights and advertisements.

In 1961, Rozelle convinced the leagues owners and Congress, which had to approve a special exemption to antitrust law, to agree to a new revenue sharing plan that allowed the NFL to sell its league wide broadcast rights as a single package and then distribute the proceeds in equal shares to all the teams.  Think about it, a team in New York City (Giants) and a team in Green Bay, Wisconsin (Packers) would both make the same amount of money.  Seems absurd but genius at the same time. This also helped keep competitive balance equal.

After Rozelle secured the agreement of his revenue sharing-plan, with the assistance of late New York Giants owner Wellington “Duke” Mara (if you look at an official NFL football today, you will see the name “Duke” on it in his memory), Rozelle negotiated the NFL’s first league-wide TV deal.  CBS paid $4.65 million a year for the rights to ’62 and ’63.

The NFL never looked back.  In 2011, NBC,CBS, Fox and ESPN will pay the NFL $12.7 billion!!!

And now, the NFL may be cutting off its nose to spite its face…or is it?

Yahoo, has more than one billion monthly users between Yahoo, Yahoo Sports, Yahoo screen and Tumblr.

Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo says: “It marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content.  The NFL and Yahoo have both long engaged football fans around the world.  Our partnership provides the ultimate football experience-with digital availability, designed for the modern fan”.

Now the current commissioner is the, now infamous, Roger Goodell.  Goodell, like Rozelle, was hired by the owners of the now 32 league franchises.  He has one goal, make the owners as much money as humanly possible.

“The NFL has always been committed to being at the forefront of media innovation.  Through this partnership with Yahoo-one of the world’s most recognizable digital brands-we are taking another important step in that direction as we continue to closely monitor the rapidly evolving digital media landscape,” Goodell said in a statement.

How I read it…Thanks television, you’ve been a great wife for years, but I’ve met someone hotter and younger.

Think about this, according to Forbes Magazine:

CBS net worth: $30.4 Billion

ESPN Net worth: $ $16.2 Billion

Fox Net worth: $11.3 Billion

Or

Apple: $145.3 Billion

Google: $65.6 Billion

The NFL’s current contracts are signed with NBC, (reportedly worth -$600 million as a network), Fox and CBS are set to expire in 2022, for about $3 billion a year annually…EACH!  And ESPN’s deal is worth $1.9 billion a year until 2021.

HOWEVER!  The NFL Network is currently simulcasting the Thursday night game with CBS.  I will give you one guess who owns the NFL Network…what keeps them from selling those rights to, lets say…Google?

One thing digital programming offers more than broadcasting, they can track exactly who is watching it…On October 26th, you can bet a part of your anatomy those numbers are going to viewed unlike any numbers have been viewed before by the league office…

Do you think the NFL will tell TV, “It’s not you, its me.”?

Overreaction Monday, let the Twitter Trolls March!

It is officially here, the Monday after the opening weekend of the NFL Season.

Yay!

In other words, it is Overreaction Monday!

All over social media you will see:

“FIRE HIM!”

“HE SUCKS!”

“This is the year Jets win the SuperBowl!”

Okay, maybe not the last one, especially from a true Jets fan, thank sweet baby Jesus I am not…I have enough of a burden called the New York Mets to deal with.  Even though this year they may be my saving grace, thanks NY Giants…RUN THE BALL!!!

I digress.

But on occasion, it gets nasty

Now think about this, the platform in which these are being read is a late night comedy show.  But in reality, these are just a few of Hundreds and sometimes thousands of tweets, facebook comments, and Instagram comments these guys receive on a daily basis.
These people, and that is all they are, people that are very gifted and good at what they do, are being criticized but people that more than likely are not close to being one of the 1500 best in the world at their profession like these people are.  The “trolls” as they are called, that are going out of their way to simply insult someone because they had a bad day at their job, more than likely are not happy with their very own lives.  However, with social media, they now are given a place where they can not only vent their frustrations, but also take them out on an easy target.  A person whose job is able for us all to see, LIVE, and then be subjected to instantaneous, and more so, impulsive responses.

I will get more into this subject and many others as this semester goes along, but one question: Is having instant access to a professional athlete a good thing?