The expansion of in-market streaming of Major League Baseball games continues, with NESN announcing Tuesday that they’ll be streaming their broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games as well as much of their other programming (Boston Bruins’ games are not currently included, but everything else is) through the new NESNGo app and NESNgo.com. MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said a deal was in place with NESN back in February, and now that deal has come to fruition, reducing the number of teams without in-market streaming even further.
NESNGo streams will require authentication through a participating TV provider, and five are currently on board. That would be Comcast, Cox, MetroCast, Playstation Vue and RCN, which NESN’s release says “collectively represent more than half of the cable subscribers in NESN’s home territory.” Here’s a screenshot of the authentication screen:
The release also mentions that “Other distributors have plans to authenticate NESN streaming in the coming weeks,” and features a quote from NESN’s president about the effort.
“Live in-market streaming will provide Red Sox fans who are on the go a means to watch games anytime, anywhere they go, on virtually any device,” said Sean McGrail, NESN President and CEO. “For years, NESN has wanted to extend live streaming access to our viewers, so we couldn’t be more excited to launch NESNgo this season. This is a significant milestone in NESN history.”
This continues the drastic expansion of in-market MLB streaming we’ve seen over the past few years. This appears to have began with Rogers Sportsnet (Blue Jays) offering streaming in 2012 (they have the weird situation of being a national as well as regional broadcaster, though), but other teams were slow to follow. The more recent wave started with MLB striking deals with providers in April 2015, and then Fox regional networks (which cover 15 of the 30 teams) reached a deal in November 2015 ahead of the 2016 season, while NBC regional networks (five more teams) signed on in January. SNY (Mets) announced they were joining in February, and Root Sports (four more teams) rolled out its streaming earlier this month.
That means that the only current omissions are the Dodgers (Time Warner’s SportsNet LA) and the Orioles and Nationals (the team-owned MASN). Going from next to nothing to 27 out of 30 teams in less than two seasons is pretty remarkable. Bringing NESN and the Red Sox on board is also significant given the size of that fanbase. This is just more proof of the importance of delivering content to consumers even when they’re away from their TVs, and it’s more proof of MLB and its teams realizing that matters.