We’re four and a half weeks from MLB’s Opening Day, and if you’re looking for some positive news about in-market streaming…well, I’ve got some bad news for you.

According to the Sports Business Journal, no American MLB club will have any in-market streaming ready by Opening Day, and there hasn’t been any progress made on a deal since the fall. SBJ also shared this interesting tidbit about the main sticking point.

Furthermore, several media executives said they are angry that the league is not accepting the same TV Everywhere streaming terms that other leagues and content providers are using. Privately, they say they are skeptical a deal will be completed at all for the 2015 baseball season.

And why won’t MLB get along with TV Everywhere? They want to run the service through MLB.tv, which networks claim would be a complete 180 from the way they’ve negotiated streaming deals with every other outlet. Sure enough, that’s accurate, at least where one league is concerned – NBA games stream locally not through League Pass, but through Fox Sports Go and NBC Live Extra. Providers also aren’t keen on essentially giving MLB.tv their customer data to allow authentication of the streams, which makes sense. That’s really something you’d like to keep in-house and not give to yet another outside party.

It’s wild that where the games will be streamed, as opposed to how much money will be paid, is the sticking point. We’ve heard for months that the financials of the deal have been done and weren’t the sticking point, but we never exactly heard the exact numbers. But the SBJ report revealed how much money will be paid out – RSNs will owe MLB 3% of their local rights deals to enable in-market streaming, with an escalator eventually kicking that up to 5%.

For an outlet like Fox Sports Detroit, paying the Tigers a reported $40 million per year under their current deal, 3% comes out to $1.2 million per year – a drop in the bucket, considering the massive ratings pulled down by the Tigers. But if you’re SportsNet LA, reportedly paying the Dodgers $340 million per season, that 3% fee checks in at $10.2 million a year, which is a tough pill to swallow given the network’s inability to get rights deals done with most of the major providers in Los Angeles.

I really wish this in-market streaming deal would get done. It would make life so much easier for baseball fans who may want to stream their local team when they’re not sitting in front of the TV at home or at a bar. But unfortunately, we may have to wait past April (or even into 2016) for in-market streaming. to get done.

[Sports Business Journal]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.

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