You may have heard the term MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) in the past. They are the folks behind MLB.tv as well as the At Bat app and Gameday feeds. But they’ve gotten so good at delivering digital content, that they have branched outside of baseball. MLBAM now helps power the WWE Network, WatchESPN, and MLBAM technology will soon be providing the long-awaited standalone HBO GO service. MLBAM has become so large and powerful that MLB is looking to possibly turn it into its own business.
The idea is to keep the websites and ticketing stuff with MLB, but to fork everything else over to MLBAM. While it’s possibly a surprising move, it shouldn’t be unexpected. MLBAM makes crazy paper for MLB, and it’s only looking to expand. They took a bet on video streaming over ten years ago, and have since built a solid infrastructure around that technology. They are the mechanic that’s been on your block for decades — others might promise more, but MLBAM has been around forever. They know how to make these things work.
And no matter how much content providers whine and moan, more and more TV is going to be shown on things that aren’t TVs. WatchESPN is expanding all the time. HBO GO’s move will soon inspire other top-tier cable networks. We can every Simpsons episode ever made on our phones, for crying out loud. I feel like I’m in one of those news stories from the 90s that’s trying to tell you what the Internet is. You know these things I’m telling you, but they’re important to remember when thinking about what MLBAM is doing. Through some forward thinking, some early investments, and a little bit of luck, a sports league has ended up being a giant in one of the biggest tech industries around. And instead of sitting on their haunches, they’re being proactive about it. And that’s hard for a large company to do. Startups are nimble, easily adaptable. Big companies with lots of human and financial investment can’t navigate as quickly, but MLBAM is trying their best.
They are succeeding at it, too. And only look to get stronger and richer. Now, if they would return Sports on Earth to its former glory, then things would look even sunnier.