Major League Baseball Advanced Media

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MLB Advanced Media, L.P.
Limited partnership
Industry Internet media
Founded June 2000 (2000-06)
Headquarters New York City
Key people
Robert A. Bowman, CEO
Products,, MLB.TV, Gameday Audio
Revenue $300 million (2006), $620 million (2012)[1]

Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) is a limited partnership of the club owners of Major League Baseball based in New York City and is the internet and interactive branch of the league. The company operates the official web site for the league and the thirty Major League Baseball club web sites via, which draws four million hits per day. The site offers news, standings, statistics, and schedules, and subscribers have access to live audio and video broadcasts of most games. The site also employs reporters, with one assigned to each team for the season and others serving more general beats. MLB Advanced Media also owns and operates MLB Radio and BaseballChannel.TV.

Robert Bowman,[2] president and CEO of MLBAM indicated in May 2012 that MLBAM generates around $620 million a year in revenue.[3] Forbes went as far as calling the company "the Biggest Media Company You've Never Heard Of".[4]

MLBAM also runs and/or owns the official web sites of Minor League Baseball, YES Network (the television broadcaster of the New York Yankees), SportsNet New York (the television broadcaster of the New York Mets), the World Championship Sports Network,[5] and[6] It also provided the backend infrastructure for The Blaze TV, CBS Sportsline's March Madness on Demand service, WWE Network, WatchESPN and HBO Now.[7][8]

In February 2015, it was reported that MLBAM was planning to spin off its streaming technology division as an independent company, with investments by MLB and other minority partners. MLB-specific properties (such as would remain under league control.[9] On August 4, 2015, the National Hockey League announced a six-year deal with MLBAM for it to take over its digital properties, including its website, mobile apps, operations and distribution of its digital streaming service NHL GameCenter Live, and the websites of all of its franchises, as well as the operations of NHL Network (which will be run from the facilities of MLB Network). The deal is worth $600 million over the life of the contract, and also grants the NHL an equity stake of up to 10% in the planned spin-out.[10][11] In the middle of 2015, a similar arrangement was signed with the PGA.[12] At the MLB Owners Meeting on August, 13, 2015, the Board of Directors of MLBAM approved the creation of a new media company to be called "BAM Tech"which will be different from MLBAM as its focus will not be on baseball content. [13]

MLB At Bat – streaming media[edit]

The most successful venture to date for MLBAM is the At Bat app for the iPhone and iPad, which is downloadable from the iTunes store and also available as an Android app on Google Play.[1] In April 2012, MLBAM announced that the At Bat 12 application surpassed the three million download mark, achieving the milestone only eight days into the 2012 MLB regular season and more than four months earlier than its record-setting 2011 campaign.[14]

MLBAM CEO Robert Bowman had this to say about MLBAM in an article entitled "What did you learn in 2012 that you will carry forth with you into 2013?":

"The toughest thing to do in a poker hand and in this business is stand pat. This year we decided to make our At Bat app universal between the iPad and iPhone, which we knew going in would cost us 100,000 subscribers. We threw in At Bat for free with an subscription, which would also cost us revenue. And we added up a monthly At Bat subscription to get people to test the product out. We gave customers more options and a better deal, and we had a record year in paid content. We learned we're at an inflection point. Customers now understand and appreciate the nuance of content economics. You'll see more of that value pricing from us going forward."[15]

Ticket resale[edit]

In 2005, MLBAM bought in a deal worth approximately $66 million.[16] MLBAM indicated at the time that the move was spurred by increased attendance at both the major and minor league levels of the sport and the need to make ticket purchases convenient for fans.[17] In 2007, MLBAM signed a 5-year deal with StubHub.[18]

Intellectual property[edit]

MLBAM vs. CDM[edit]

MLBAM signed a five-year, $50 million interactive rights deal with the MLB Players Association in 2005 to acquire most of the players' online rights, including fantasy sports. The deal exacerbated tension between fantasy sports companies and professional leagues and players associations over the rights to player profiles and statistics. The players associations of the major sports leagues believed that fantasy games using player names were subject to licensing due to the right of publicity of the players involved. During the 1980s and 1990s many companies signed licensing deals with the player associations, but many companies did not. The issue came to a head when MLBAM denied a fantasy baseball licensing agreement to St. Louis-based CBC Distribution and Marketing Inc., the parent company of CDM Sports. CBC filed suit as a result.

CBC argued that intellectual property laws and so-called "right of publicity" laws don't apply to the statistics used in fantasy sports.[19] The FSTA filed a friend of the court brief in support of CBC which argued that MLBAM's step to deny CBC a license was the first step to limit the number of companies in the market, that could result in MLBAM having a monopoly.

CBC won the lawsuit as U.S. District Court Judge Mary Ann Medler ruled that statistics are part of the public domain and can be used at no cost by fantasy companies. "The names and playing records of major-league baseball players as used in CBC's fantasy games are not copyrightable," Medler wrote. "Therefore, federal copyright law does not pre-empt the players' claimed right of publicity."[19]

The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision in October 2007.[20] "It would be a strange law that a person would not have a First Amendment right to use information that is available to everyone," a three-judge panel said in its ruling.[21]

On June 2, 2008, the United States Supreme Court denied MLB's petition for a writ of certiorari.[22]

MLBAM has lost nearly $2 million on the case and may now opt out of the agreement with the MLBPA and also faces the potential loss of millions of dollars of licensing fees from major media companies, such as Fox.[23] ESPN opted out of a seven-year, $140 million deal with MLBAM after three years in January 2008. The decision to opt out came less than three months after the CDM case was upheld on appeal as "ESPN thinks the court's decision means that it was paying a license fee for fantasy rights that others, such as CDM, were getting free."[24]

MLBAM Patents & Patent Infringement Issues[edit]

MLBAM has been issued some patents with others still "patent pending" before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. For example, MLBAM was awarded a patent for technology that blocked certain fans from viewing local games online.[25] MLBAM was also awarded a patent for geolocation.[26] MLBAM was particularly proud of U.S. Patent No. 7,486,943 for geolocating baseball fans for live MLB.TV games.[27] In addition, MLBAM was issued a patent for a system and method for allocating seats for a ticketed event.[28] Another example of an MLBAM patent is U.S. Patent No. 8,045,965 entitled "System and method for venue-to-venue messaging,"[29] which lists MLBAM CEO Robert A. Bowman[30] as a co-inventor (inventorship).

MLBAM has been the subject of patent infringement lawsuits. See, for example, DDB Techs., L.L.C. v. MLB Advanced Media, L.P.[31] This case began as a patent infringement suit between DDB Technologies (DDB) and MLBAM over several patents for generating a computer simulation of a live event for display on a viewer's computer as well as one patent for a method allowing a viewer to search for certain information about a live event.[32] The technology at issue was being used for simulation of baseball and other sporting activities.[33] The case was finally settled with MLBAM acquiring patent rights to the DDB patent portfolio.[34]

MLBAM has also been sued for patent infringement of the Front Row Technologies[35] patent portfolio[36] covering the delivery of sports and entertainment video to hand held devices such as smartphones (e.g., iPhone, Android), pad computing devices (e.g., iPad, Kindle, etc.), laptop computers and the like.[37] According to the patent infringement complaint filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Texas,[38] MLBAM infringed U.S. Patent Number 8,090,321[39] entitled "Transmitting sports and entertainment data to wireless hand held devices over a telecommunications network."[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "MLB Advanced Media's Bob Bowman Is Playing Digital Hardball. And He's Winning.". Fast Company. 
  2. ^ Dyad Communications. "Wharton Alumni Magazine: 125 Influential People and Ideas: Robert A. Bowman". 
  3. ^ "Major League Baseball's Advanced Media is a Hit -". 
  4. ^ "A closer look at NHL’s partnership with MLBAM". Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  5. ^ Help.
  6. ^ Article: Features.
  7. ^ Our Apologies.
  8. ^ Spangler, Todd "MLBAM Inks Ad Deal With Auditude", Multichannel Newss, April 6, 2011, accessed April 7, 2011.
  9. ^ "MLB considers spinning off its powerful streaming business". The Verge. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  10. ^ "Pro Baseball’s Streaming Video Unit Gets Ready for a $3 Billion Spinoff by Adding Pro Hockey". Re/code. Vox Media. Retrieved 4 August 2015. 
  11. ^ "MLB’s Tech Unit Wins NHL Streaming Business". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 4 August 2015. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Ben Popper. "How baseball’s tech team built the future of television". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  13. ^ Ben Popper. "How baseball’s tech team built the future of television". The Verge. Vox Media. 
  14. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "MLB Advanced Media CEO Bob Bowman On Users Adopting And Adapting". Fast Company. 
  16. ^
  17. ^ "MLB Acquires". 
  18. ^ NY Times.
  19. ^ a b "Fantasy leagues permitted to use MLB names, stats". ESPN. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  20. ^ "" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  21. ^ Van Voris, Bob; Jeff St. Onge (October 16, 2007). "Fantasy Sports Win Right to Player Names, Statistics". Bloomerberg. Retrieved 2007-07-28. 
  22. ^ Order List - June 2, 2008
  23. ^ Fisher, Eric (October 22, 2007). "Fantasy challenge costly for MLBAM, union". Sports Business Journal (Street & Smith's Sports Group). Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  24. ^ Ourand, John; Eric Fisher (January 21, 2008). "ESPN seeks better MLBAM terms". Sports Business Journal (Street & Smith's Sports Group). Retrieved 2008-01-25. 
  25. ^ Klayman, Ben (2009-05-15). "Major League Baseball awarded geolocation patent". Reuters. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  26. ^ "MLBAM Issued Patent for Geolocation. Could MLB Extra Innings for Mobile Be Far Behind?". 2009-05-14. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  27. ^ "MLB.TV granted landmark U.S. patent | News". 2012-06-19. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  28. ^ "Patent US8121872 - System and method for allocating seats for a ticketed event - Google Patents". Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  29. ^,045,965&OS=8,045,965&RS=8,045,965
  30. ^ "Robert A Bowman". 
  31. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^ "DDB Technologies and MLB Advanced Media Reach Patent Portfolio". Bloomberg. 
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ "Front Row Hits MLB With Hand-Held Video Patent Suit". 
  38. ^ "Front Row Technologies v. MLB Advanced Media et. al.". Scribd. 
  39. ^
  40. ^ "Patent US8090321 - Transmitting sports and entertainment data to wireless hand held devices ... - Google Patents".