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US MLB reportedly mulling transfer of streaming rights to teams

The US’s Major League Baseball (MLB) is leaning towards transferring domestic US streaming rights to individual teams, potentially leading to a march away from pay TV for US baseball towards a streaming-focused future, according to the New York Post.

According to the paper, citing unnamed sources close to the talks, the MLB, under pressure from a number of teams – notably the New York Yankees – favours transferring the rights following the expiry of its current contract with Fox’s 22 regional sports networks at the end of this year.

Disney is being forced to sell off the regional networks as a condition of its acquisition of the bulk of Fox’s entertainment assets.

Acquiring the right to sell their own streaming rights would enable baseball teams to do deals with Amazon and Google rather than with television networks.

According to previous press reports, Amazon is in the running to acquire the regional networks, including a joint bid with a sovereign wealth fund for the YES Network, the New York station that is home to both Yankees and Brooklyn Nets games, and which may be sold separately from the other networks.