ESPN To Use MLB To Stream All Their Events, Drops Support For Move Networks
Yesterday, ESPN announced that when ESPN360.com relaunches on April 4th as ESPN3, Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) will take over all of the technical support and infrastructure requirements for the new site. EPSN3 plans to broadcast more than 3,500 games this year and will now rely on MLBAM to handle all of the video workflow using the same platform used for MLB.TV.
In a call yesterday with John Kosner, SVP of ESPN Digital Media, John said the deal with MLBAM is a straight services contract with no sharing of ad revenue of any kind. For ESPN, this ends their reliance on technology from Move Networks and now gives them access to all of the functionality that MLB.TV has in their video player. This is a smart deal for both companies as ESPN goes from having to use multiple vendors to stream their events to one provider that handles everything and as a result, John said ESPN’s costs will go down. In addition, users will no longer be required to have to download a Move Networks plugin and can now rely on Adobe’s Flash platform. And for anyone who has used MLB.TV, they know that MLB has some of the best quality video and technology hands down.
This isn’t the first time the two companies have worked together and John pointed out that ESPN and MLBAM have worked on projects with one another over the past seven years. It’s also a good example of two companies that some say compete with one another, actually working with one another.
ESPN3 is only available to consumers if their ISP has licensed access to it from ESPN and John said ESPN3 will reach 50M households in the U.S. this year. While I asked if ESPN plans to offer any kind of subscription based service for consumers who ISP hasn’t licensed the platform, John says ESPN has no plans to do so.
Another interesting aspect here is that many of the pro sports leagues now seem to be moving to the same video platform, that being Flash. MLB.TV use to use Silverlight and moved to Flash some time again. ESPN is now moving from Move Networks to Flash, the NBA already uses Flash and I hear rumors that the NFL will be moving away from Move Networks this year and over to Flash. I’ve asked the NFL for an official comment on this and will update the post if they give me one.