The importance of BAMTech is only continuing to grow. BAMTech, the spinoff of Major League Baseball’s streaming operation which was recently valued at $3.5 billion when Disney bought one-third of it, provides streaming services for everything from WatchESPN to WWE Network to HBO Now, has digital partnerships with the NHL and PGA, will be heavily involved in ESPN’s planned over-the-top service, and now is working with Twitter on their streaming sports packages.
The big one here is Thursday Night Football, but there are many others. Shalini Ramachandran of The Wall Street Journal has more details on why Twitter would choose BAMTech instead of doing these streams in-house as Yahoo did with their NFL game last year:
BAMTech is also helping Twitter with its other sports-related live streams, one of the people said. Twitter has now signed deals with four major sports leagues—Major League Baseball, the National Hockey League, NFL and the National Basketball Association—as well as the Pac-12 network for college sports.
BAMTech has made a name for itself as a white-glove service that charges more than other vendors but turns around products quickly with minimal hiccups for users. BAMTech already powers a variety of direct-to-consumer streaming services, including HBO Now, Sony Corp. ’s PlayStation Vue and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. ’s streaming network.
BAMTech also has sophisticated geo-restricting capabilities from its experience streaming MLB.tv, its own subscription service that offers every team’s out-of-market games but blacks out home games. Twitter is likely to tap that expertise.
Twitter will use its own technology to monetize local ad spots for the games, a person familiar with the matter said. It intends to use its own player and dynamic ad insertion to show different ads to users based on Twitter targeting data.
From the plethora of rights deals they’ve signed and the $10 million they’re spending on the NFL, it’s apparent Twitter sees streaming as a key way to grow their business. Going with BAMTech suggests they’re willing to invest in the product side as well as the rights side, and BAMTech certainly has a strong reputation in the industry. They’ve had a few hiccups, such as last year’s NHL.tv launch, but not all that many when you consider how much they’ve been streaming.
That may be part of Twitter’s strategy here, too; they’re going into streaming in such a big way, with a variety of content from MLB and the NHL, the NBA, the Premier League, the Pac-12, Campus Insiders, the Mountain West (Weber State at Utah State Thursday will be the first college football game broadcast live on Twitter) and many more, that it probably makes sense for them to buy top streaming technology. It’s also possible that this change was made after their soft launch of streaming during Wimbledon; maybe something there convinced them they needed outside help.
In any case, this is certainly something that will help BAMTech’s reputation and bottom line (and thus Disney’s), and something that may also help boost the quality of Twitter’s streams.