Roku Lands Exclusive Rights to Major League Baseball ‘Sunday Leadoff’ Games

Roku May 13 announced it has secured exclusive multiyear rights for Major League Baseball (MLB) “Sunday Leadoff” live games. Starting May 19, Roku will offer Sunday MLB games for free on The Roku Channel, plus an all-new “MLB Zone” to find live and upcoming games, nightly recaps, highlights, and a fully programmed MLB FAST channel.

On most Sundays throughout the season, Roku will be the home for the first games of the day, with an exclusive window during airtime as well. Paying subscribers of MLB.tv can watch all 18 matchups blackout free.

Charlie Collier, president of Roku Media, contends that with the ongoing fragmentation of television programming and live sports across networks, apps, and multiple TV packages, the need for a unified platform for MLB is crucial.

“With this deal, Roku delivers free, live, weekly Sunday baseball and 24/7 baseball curation, destinations, and channels across our platform,” Collier said in a statement.

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MLB “Sunday Leadoff” will stream every Sunday on The Roku Channel and TheRokuChannel.com from May 19 to Sept. 15. The matchups start on May 19 with the St. Louis Cardinals hosting the Boston Red Sox at 1:05 pm ET. Other featured games include the Baltimore Orioles going head-to-head against the New York Yankees on July 14; and the defending National League champion Arizona Diamondbacks facing the Los Angeles Dodgers on Sept. 1.

The game telecasts will be produced in collaboration with Major League Baseball. Broadcast teams each week will be market-focused, with Chip Caray (play-by-play), Will Middlebrooks (analyst), and Alexa Datt (reporter) calling this Sunday’s game.

“Since Roku serves as an entertainment gateway for millions, this partnership offers a valuable new promotional and distribution platform for MLB games and content,” said Noah Garden, MLB deputy commissioner of business and media.

Samsung TV Plus Adds Sports-Themed FAST Channels

Samsung TV Plus has unveiled a new lineup of premium sports, music, family and entertainment content on its free ad-supported streaming television platform. April 30 at the IAB NewFronts, Samsung announced a suite of major league channels that will deliver live sports from Major League Baseball (MLB), The PGA Tour, the American Hockey League (AHL), and ONEChampionship (Mixed Martial Arts), along with Formula 1’s first FAST channel.

Samsung TV Plus and MLB are allowing viewers to stream a weekly game replay, minor league game replays, and game recaps, among other content exclusives to come later in the season.

The PGA Tour channel will deliver coverage on all things associated with the professional golf, with behind-the-scenes programming, documentaries, tournament recaps, highlights, and competitions, among other content.

Samsung TV Plus will be the first FAST platform to air live American Hockey League games through the Los Angeles Kings affiliate, the Ontario Reign.

The platform will also have Formula 1’s new FAST Channel at launch. The Formula 1 Channel enables fans of the sport to catch up on all the action from F1, F2, F3 and F1 Academy races throughout the season, including analysis, replays and documentaries.

The launch of ONE Championship TV will bring combat sports content to the service. Featuring unique live events to TV Plus, highlights, series and behind-the scenes access from the world’s largest martial arts organization.

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Samsung reports FAST viewing on the platform has grown 60% in the past 12 months, reaching more than 630 million connected devices across 24 countries.

 

Fubo Adding MLB.TV to Sports-Themed Online TV Platform

Sports-themed online TV service Fubo March 23 announced the pending addition of MLB.TV to its lineup of live baseball coverage. MLB.TV is expected to launch on Fubo in the coming days, ahead of Major League Baseball’s Opening Day on March 30.

Fubo’s more than 1 million subscribers will be able to add MLB.TV to their existing channel plan for $24.99 per month. MLB.TV offers every out of market MLB game live. Customers will also be able to stream games on demand via Fubo’s Lookback feature. Fubo subscriptions are priced from $74.99 monthly.

“Fubo now offers the most baseball coverage of any streaming company,” co-founder/CEO David Gandler said in a statement.

Indeed, with MLB.TV and its current carriage of MLB Network, MLB Strike Zone, regional sports networks (RSNs), local broadcast networks and national sports networks ESPN and FS1, Fubo would have the most baseball coverage compared to any other streaming platform. In addition to coverage of baseball and other sports, Fubo also streams entertainment and news programming, and features more than 40,000 TV shows and movies on-demand.

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Amazon to Begin Exclusively Streaming New York Yankees Friday Night Baseball Games

Amazon Prime Video is set to begin streaming New York Yankees Friday night baseball games, beginning April 21. While the streamer has been making select Yankees games available since 2020 as a minority stakeholder in the team’s YES Network, the Friday night games are reportedly exclusive.

The games are available only to Prime Video users in the states of New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Streamers living outside of these regions can access Yankees games via Major League Baseball’s long-running MLB.TV subscription streaming service.

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The exclusive Yankees Prime Video games (at 7 pm) include:

Cleveland Guardians, April 22

Texas Rangers, May 6

Chicago White Sox, May 13 (8 p.m.)

Chicago White Sox, May 20

Tampa Bay Rays, May 27

Chicago Cubs, June 10

Houston Astros, June 24

Cleveland Guardians, July 1

Boston Red Sox, July 8

Boston Red Sox, July 15

Baltimore Orioles, July 22

Kansas City Royals, July 29

St. Louis Cardinals, Aug. 5
 

Tampa Bay Rays, Aug. 16

Toronto Blue Jays, Aug. 19

New York Mets, Aug. 23

Oakland Athletics, Aug. 26

Tampa Bay Rays, Sept. 9

Milwaukee Brewers, Sept. 16

Boston Red Sox, Sept. 23

Baltimore Orioles, Sept. 30

Peacock Becomes Exclusive Home of New Sunday Morning Major League Baseball ‘Game of the Week’ Package

NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service will become the exclusive home to a new Major League Baseball game of the week streaming/broadcast package beginning May 8.

The NBC Sports-produced game lasts 18 consecutive weeks, with start times for the first six Sunday games at 11:30 a.m. ET and the following 12 Sunday games beginning at Noon ET. Each game will feature NBC Sports-produced pregame and post-game shows on Peacock.

The first game (Chicago White Sox vs. Boston Red Sox from Fenway Park on May 8 at 11:30 a.m. ET) will be simulcast on the NBC broadcast network, with the remaining 17 games available exclusively on Peacock’s premium service (full schedule below). In addition, Peacock will be the exclusive home of the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game — featuring top minor league prospects — which will be played during All-Star Week in July at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles.

Peacock will also feature classic MLB games, documentaries from the MLB Film & Video Archive, and highlight packages available on-demand in a new MLB hub.

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“Expanding Peacock’s premium live sports offering for subscribers remains a top priority and we are very excited to partner with MLB to bring a new, exclusive package of games to Peacock on Sunday mornings for baseball fans,” Rick Cordella, EVP and Chief Commercial Officer for Peacock, said in a statement.

“As consumption habits continue to evolve, it is important for us to provide new ways for fans who are outside the cable bundle to watch MLB games,” said Noah Garden, Major League Baseball chief revenue officer. “This agreement marks an exciting new chapter to the extensive history of innovation between MLB and NBC Sports in delivering exciting baseball action to our fans.”

The first Major League Baseball television broadcast was a 1939 Cincinnati Reds-Brooklyn Dodgers doubleheader on W2XBS (the precursor to WNBC-TV) in New York. NBC Sports was a home to the first World Series broadcast in 1947, the first All-Star Game nationally broadcast in 1952, and has televised 39 World Series — more than any other network. Additionally, from 1957 to 2000, NBC Sports was home to a wealth of baseball programming, including Game of the Week and Monday Night Baseball telecasts, more than 30 All-Star Games, and countless Postseason moments.

Peacock, which ended 2021 with 9 million paid subs, continues to up its live sports coverage, including “Sunday Night Football,” Olympic Games, Premier League, Notre Dame Football, NTT IndyCar Series, and much more. Peacock Originals streaming now include “Joe Montana: Cool Under Pressure,” “Meddling,” “Picabo,” and “American Rockstars.” Peacock also offers daily sports programming on the NBC Sports channel which streams Peacock Original Brother from Another and staples like “The Dan Patrick Show,” “Pro Football Talk Live” and ”The Rich Eisen Show.”

2022 MLB on Peacock – Sunday Game Schedule

Date Time Matchup
May 8 11:30 a.m. ET Chicago White Sox at Boston Red Sox
May 15 11:30 a.m. ET San Diego Padres at Atlanta Braves
May 22 11:30 a.m. ET St. Louis Cardinals at Pittsburgh Pirates
May 29 11:30 a.m. ET San Francisco Giants at Cincinnati Reds
June 5 11:30 a.m. ET Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees
June 12 11:30 a.m. ET Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Guardians
June 19 Noon ET Philadelphia Phillies at Washington Nationals
June 26 Noon ET New York Mets at Miami Marlins
July 3 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers
July 10 Noon ET Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles
July 17 Noon ET Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays
July 24 Noon ET Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia Phillies
July 31 Noon ET Detroit Tigers at Toronto Blue Jays
August 7 Noon ET Houston Astros at Cleveland Guardians
August 14 Noon ET San Diego Padres at Washington Nationals
August 21 Noon ET Chicago White Sox at Cleveland Guardians
August 28 Noon ET Los Angeles Dodgers at Miami Marlins
September 4 Noon ET Toronto Blue Jays at Pittsburgh Pirates

 

Major League Baseball Eyeing Nationwide Streaming Service

With the national pastime in the throes of postseason play, Major League Baseball is reportedly considering launching a branded subscription streaming service to supplant declining pay-TV viewership. The service, which would cost $10-$20 monthly, could start by the 2023 season.

MLB currently operates MLB.tv, a SVOD service affording subscribers access to out-of-market games. The new service would co-exist while sharing revenue with pay-TV operators, according to The New York Post, which first reported the news.

“We believe those digital rights are crucial,” MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred told the recent CAA World Congress of Sports conference. “And we want to own and control the platform on which they’re delivered, we may have partners in that process.”

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A possible challenge to any launch is the Sinclair Broadcast Group, which owns regional TV rights to 14 MLB teams, including streaming agreements with Amazon for the New York Yankees and, separately, the Chicago Cubs.

Sinclair acquired the former Fox Sports regional rights (which include 16 NBA teams, and 12 NHL teams) from Disney for $9.6 billion. Since then, viewership has declined with Dish, Hulu and YouTube TV dropping coverage. The media report suggests Sinclair would be open to working with the MLB’s streaming service in exchange for the league lowering its annual carriage fees.

Pluto TV to Bow Major League Baseball Channel March 2

AVOD platform Pluto TV on March 2 will launch a new channel with Major League Baseball featuring classic games and highlights. The deal was announced Feb. 24 during the ViacomCBS streaming investor day. The branded MLB channel will stream more than 200 hours of ad-supported classic content licensed from the MLB Film & Video Archive, with quarterly refreshes.

MLB Spring Training games begin this weekend in Florida and Arizona, respectively, with Opening Day scheduled for April 1, featuring a quadruple header on ESPN. All 30 clubs are scheduled to play their first regular season games that day.

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The MLB Channel will air a variety of curated content intended to capture the excitement and nostalgia of America’s national pastime. Programming includes World Series and All-Star games and milestones, episodes of “Epic Moments,” “Baseball’s Seasons” and “Cathedrals of the Game” in addition to curated clips and playlists featuring top plays from the legendary sport.

Major League Baseball is the latest sports league to join Pluto TV’s growing lineup, which includes NFL ChannelMajor League SoccerPGA TourBellator MMAPac-12 Insider and more, in addition to hundreds of channels spanning a wide range of other genres, and thousands of movies and TV series.

“To be able to add a Major League Baseball channel for the first time is a landmark event both for us and for baseball fans who are always looking to watch more of their favorite sport,” Will Gurman, VP of global content partnerships at Pluto TV, said in a statement.

Viewers can stream the MLB channel on Pluto TV across all major mobile, connected TV and Web-based devices.

T-Mobile Streaming Original Major League Baseball Content

Wireless carrier T-Mobile Sept. 14 announced it would begin streaming an original Q&A video series featuring Major League Baseball players. Called “Beyond the Bases,” the series is hosted by Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks, who will be joined by New York Mets All-Star first baseman Pete Alonso, on Sept. 15 at 12 p.m. PT on T-MobileBeyondtheBases.com and available on demand afterwards.

The series addresses the players’ personal stories, little-known facts on their outside passions and personal interests. Upcoming guests include Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Didi Gregorious, Atlanta Braves shortstop Dansby Swanson and New York Yankees first baseman Luke Voit, among others, through Nov. 10.

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“We started this season with free MLB.tv for T-Mobile and legacy Sprint customers, and now with “Beyond the Bases,” we’ll bring even more baseball to the fans,” Mike Sievert, CEO of T-Mobile, said in a statement.

T-Mobile in 2018 became the first telco provider to offer select subscribers free access to Netflix for a year. The promotion proved so popular Disney offered a similar deal for Disney+ to Verizon subs. This year, T-Mobile expanded third-party SVOD access with a promotion for MLB.tv, which affords subs access to all out of market games.

T-Mobile’s MLB promotion includes a trivia contest raising funds to helps cover Little League Baseball and Softball registration fees for kids in need around the country. Little Leaguers will also get the chance to ask their own questions to the MLB players on a weekly basis.

T-Mobile users can sign up to get notified about upcoming episodes and be entered to win a free trip to the MLB All-Star Week in Atlanta in 2021 — including VIP access to the T-Mobile Home Run Derby and All-Star Game, All-Star Sunday, including the All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game.

Pandemic-Shortened MLB Season Opens to Strong TV Ratings

Major League Baseball proved to be a home entertainment winner, delivering strong TV ratings on its opening weekend of games July 23-26. Citing a lack of competing sports (the NBA and NHL re-started their seasons July 30 and Aug. 1, respectively) and a fanbase starved for live competition, MLB said viewership was double than during the previous-year weekend.

The first 12 games of the truncated 60-game season broadcast on ESPN reportedly averaged 1.16 million viewers, which was up 34% from last year. The July 23 league opener featuring the New York Yankees and Washington Nationals generated 4 million viewers, the highest for a regular-season game since 2011.

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Nielsen said ratings for regional sports networks carrying non-national televised games saw rating increase 31% opening weekend and 18% across 25 markets through July 29.

“Whatever challenges were presented by the absence of fans was very much outweighed by the optimism,” Michael Mulvihill, head of strategy and analytics at Fox Sports, told The Wall Street Journal. “There was the expectation of a great, pent-up appetite for baseball.”

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That said, a spike in coronavirus infections among players on the Miami Marlins threatens to derail a season that is already played live in empty stadiums. The infections have caused postponement of 33 games through Aug. 2.

The St. Louis Cardinals remained quarantined in their Milwaukee hotel for a third day following four confirmed COVID-19 cases.

“You have to flatten the curve before you can move forward,” John Mozeliak, president of baseball operations for the Cardinals, told a local radio show. “So over the last couple days, we’ve been trending in the wrong direction, and hopefully we get some better news today.”

Amazon Prime Video Expands Live Sports Programming

Amazon Prime Video, unlike Netflix and Hulu, is not afraid of live sports programming costs. The SVOD service live-streams NFL football and Major League Baseball games (New York Yankees) in the United States.

Now Prime Video has acquired rights to select UEFA Champions League soccer matches in Germany. The Champions League is an annual competition pitting professional clubs across Europe to determine the top team.

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Prime Video, beginning in 2021, will live-stream a selection 0f “first-pick” 16 matches. The Champions League rights are currently held by Comcast’s Sky Deutschland, which reportedly subcontracts streaming rights to DAZN, the boxing-centric platform.

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“We’re excited to bring UEFA Champions League football to our customers in Germany,” Alex Green, managing director, Prime Video Sport Europe, said in a statement. “The UEFA Champions League is one of the most prestigious club competitions in the world.”