Big news on the business side of the game today as Major League Baseball announced that two teams, the Yankees and a second unnamed franchise rumored to be the Red Sox, will deliver live games online within their home broadcast territories starting in July.
Not surprisingly, an effort that involves the Beasts of the AL East is already raising concerns about disparity. However, before O’s fans get frustrated, it’s worth noting that the Orioles have looked into the possibility of streaming games online. (Emphasis added below.)
The deal also sets up a potential “Pandora’s Box” scenario in which other club-owned RSNs would look to launch in-market streamed games. The Red Sox and Orioles are but two clubs that have looked into the possibility. If so, it will create a have and have-not issue based on the new revenue stream for clubs that are in the position to foster carriage deals through their club-owned RSNs.
It’s a lesson that bears repeating: Don’t underestimate the importance of regional sports networks to the health of a team’s bottom line.