MLBAM: More In-Market Baseball Streaming Coming In 2010

Looking to stream your hometown baseball team’s games online in-market this season? You might be in luck.

In my cover story this week (Sports Streaming’s Big Play), and in B&C editor Ben Grossman’s Left Coast Bias column (Go Ahead, Kill Your Business) the topic of streaming sports online gets a thorough examination.

As we both mention, Major League Baseball Advanced Media set the bar high with its paid service. The service typically blacks out all in-market games to protect the traditional television broadcasts. The only exceptions to that rule came during the middle of the 2009 season, when MLBAM announced a test of in-market streaming for Yankees games in New York and Padres games in San Diego.

For 2010, MLBAM CEO Bob Bowman says there will definitely be more teams and distributors participating, though which ones and how many are still being worked out.

Of course, in-market streaming is not available to just anybody. You have to be a cable (or telco) subscriber to access the service, so your favorite team and your MSO have to both be participating. It is also a premium service, with the user paying extra for the privilege of watching their team in-market.

“With proper authentication they all approach it the way they should, as an added feature of buying cable,” Bowman says.

Bowman likens in-market streaming to a new car: you can buy the basic model, but for a little more you get some extra bells and whistles. In this case, buying the cable package is step one, and protects the traditional revenue stream. Once that is locked in, if consumers want more, they can pay extra for the in-market service.