Major League Baseball is a major player in the world of professional sports, bringing America’s pastime to fans in the stands and online at MLB.tv. With MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the league has created an online presence that provides innovative access to the sport for fans. Its websites enjoy millions of visits each day during baseball season as visitors rush to watch live videos, read player statistics and interact with other fans.
But MLBAM is more than an online entertainment provider. The company has caught the attention of experts around the globe for its use of technology to deliver digital content to consumers. The company has patented several technologies that could prove valuable to other businesses in the coming years, as sports fans increasingly turn to digital media rather than television to watch sports. As a result, MLBAM has become more tech company than entertainment provider, and the industry is taking note.
MLBAM’s patented technology
One of MLBAM’s most well-known patents is technology that blocks online content by geolocation, which is essential for a business that provides online streaming of sporting events. Blackout rules prohibit streaming in certain areas, and this technology allows MLB to honor those rules by controlling where its content is visible. The software MLBAM uses combines a device’s network address with payment data to accurately determine whether or not a device should be allowed to stream a specific game.
Another MLBAM patent is a ticketing system that helps issue tickets for games in an advanced manner. When a request comes in, this software can locate the best unassigned seat based on the number of tickets being requested. This helps ensure that every fan gets a great seat at the time tickets are purchased.
Apps and electronics
MLBAM continues to refine its streaming services, which are optimized for computer or mobile access. Recently the company updated its app to let viewers enjoy multiple shots at once through a split-screen feature. Premium subscribers now have access to more than 275 live streams through the app, including radio broadcasts of spring training.
Among the biggest news in recent months has been MLBAM’s addition of professional hockey to its offerings. Last August, MLBAM signed a deal with the National Hockey League to handle its digital streaming. MLBAM already provides streaming services for a wide variety of sports entertainment providers, including ESPN, HBO and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
A moneymaking venture
Originally founded to handle baseball alone, MLBAM has the potential to be a massive moneymaker. The NHL move was only the beginning for the company. Soon after, MLBAM’s board voted to spin off the non-MLB arm of its operations into a company called BAM Tech.
This separation allows MLBAM to maintain its brand as the technology arm of the MLB while also seeking out new ventures. BAM Tech is considered the cash cow of MLBAM, already having been valued at an estimated $8 billion, according to USA Today. All 30 MLB owners are majority owners of BAM Tech and will share in the earnings.
Even without considering BAM Tech’s contributions, MLBAM is still one of the top tech innovators in business today. As the company continues to find ways to connect fans with the sports they love, the tech world is watching to see what exciting innovations baseball enthusiasts will see next.