Forbes.com broke the news last Friday that MLB and Fox were in discussions to allow streaming of broadcasts of your local team to your computer, game console or mobile device if you live in a Fox regional sports network (RSN) market (which most of the country does not).
Now comes word that those negotiations have “reached an impasse” and it’s become less likely that the blackout restrictions will be lifted for 2015, if ever. The crux of the biscuit seems to be whether Fox will be allowed to stream such game through their Fox Sports Go! app, or whether MLB will insist that MLB Advanced Media, the part that actually streams the content, maintain the right to exclusive distribution.
MLB guards their video content to what many people might consider a ridiculous degree. As Maury Brown points out in the more recent article, the NBA has deal allowing RSNs to stream local games for free. The FCC themselves repealed the NFL’s policy against blacking out home games that are not sold out, although in reality most NFL games sell out, so it’s not such a big issue these days.
MLB, on the other hand, exerts jealous control over the video dissemination of major league baseball content, whether through live broadcast, or dissemination of any video by third parties (although a quick scan of results from a search for “major league baseball” on YouTube reveals plenty of game action, some of it stunningly high quality, uploaded by people who don’t seem to be connected with MLB at all).
In any event, this news is not good, but also not unexpected if you know anything about MLB policies regarding broadcasting and blackouts in general. here’s a link to the Forbes.com story: