×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Disney to Acquire 33% Stake in MLB’s Streaming-Video Unit Valuing It At $3.5 Billion (Report)

Disney has reached an agreement with Major League Baseball to acquire a one-third stake in the streaming-video unit of the league’s MLB Advanced Media technology arm in a deal valuing the unit at about $3.5 billion, Bloomberg reported.

Under the terms of the proposed pact, Disney has a four-year option to buy an additional 33% stake in MLBAM’s streaming unit, according to the report, which cited an anonymous source. WME-IMG was also among bidders vying for a stake in the unit, per Bloomberg. The reported valuation of the MLBAM unit, dubbed BAM Tech, would be post-investment.

Reps for Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment. MLB declined to comment. Disney’s interest in BAM Tech was previously reported by Recode.

The league formed MLBAM in 2000 to launch MLB.tv, one of the earliest Internet-delivered video subscription services. Since then, it has grown the division to operate streaming services of several other companies — including Disney’s WatchESPN.

Disney’s deal to buy into MLB Advanced Media’s BAM Tech raises the prospect that the Mouse House is poised to expand its range of online-video services. Disney execs have downplayed speculation that ESPN might split out from the pay-TV bundle with a direct-to-consumer service a la HBO Now (which is powered by MLBAM). But the sports programmer may be teeing up to launch ancillary offerings for niche-oriented sports.

Meanwhile, Disney last fall launched a subscription-streaming service called DisneyLife in the U.K. Priced at £9.99 per month, DisneyLife includes a collection of movies, TV shows, books and music from the media conglom. Movies from Marvel and the “Star Wars” franchise aren’t part of DisneyLife, but separate services for those brands could be launched in the future, Disney chief Bob Iger said at the time.

Other clients of New York-based MLBAM, headed by CEO Bob Bowman since its inception, include Time Warner’s HBO Now, WWE Network, Sony’s PlayStation Vue internet TV service, the Yankee’s YES Network, the PGA and Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze.

Last summer, MLBAM inked a six-year deal with the National Hockey League, under which MLB Advanced Media assumed the NHL’s TV broadcasting and Internet-streaming operations. MLBAM is said to be paying the NHL about $100 million per year for the rights to distribute the league’s out-of-market telecasts; in return, the NHL received an equity stake in MLBAM of between 7% and 10%.

In addition to TV and internet video operations, MLBAM operates the official League site, MLB.com, as well as each of the 30 individual team sites. In 2014, MLBAM captured, encoded and distributed 30,000 live video events, according to the league.

More Digital

  • "Brother" -- Episode 201-- Pictured (l-r):

    CBS Interactive's Marc DeBevoise on Streaming Boom, Content Strategy, and Apple

    Not everyone wants or needs to be Netflix to succeed in the streaming space. And not everyone sees Apple’s enigmatic new service as a threat. Even as rival streaming services offer gobs of content, CBS Interactive’s president and COO Marc DeBevoise sees the company’s targeted original programming strategy continuing to attract viewers to its All [...]

  • Rhett-Link-Good-Mythical-Morning

    Rhett & Link's Mythical Entertainment in Talks to Acquire Smosh (EXCLUSIVE)

    Smosh, the YouTube comedy brand left stranded after parent company Defy Media went belly-up, may be about to get a new business partner. Mythical Entertainment, the entertainment company founded by top YouTube comedy duo Rhett & Link, has been in talks about acquiring the Smosh brand, sources told Variety. Multiple potential buyers came forward to [...]

  • Pokemon Go

    Proposed 'Pokémon Go' Lawsuit Settlement May Remove Poké Stops, Gyms

    A proposed settlement in the class action lawsuit against “Pokémon Go” developer Niantic could remove or change a number of Poké Stops and Gyms in the popular augmented reality game. The proposed settlement was filed in a California court on Thursday and applies to anyone in the U.S. who owns or leases property within 100 meters [...]

  • Skyline of Doha at night with

    Qatar's beIN Rallies Support From U.S. Companies Against Pirate Broadcaster beoutQ

    Qatari powerhouse beIN Media Group has rallied support from American sports and entertainment entities, including Discovery and Fox, behind its request that the U.S. government place Saudi Arabia on its watch list of top intellectual property offenders. The Doha-based broadcaster, a state-owned spinoff of Al Jazeera news network, accuses the Saudi government of harboring pirate broadcaster [...]

  • Carlos SlimMexican tycoon Carlos Slim participates

    Carlos Slim’s America Movil Looks to Invest $8.5 Billion in Latin America This Year

    América Móvil general director Daniel Hajj has announced that Carlos Slim’s Mexican conglomerate plans to invest $8.5 billion in Latin American in 2019, focusing primarily on fiber-optic infrastructure and updated mobile technologies such as 4.5G and 5gG. In a conference call with analysts, following the company’s recap of fourth quarter results, Hajj laid out the [...]

  • Netflix Gooses Movistar Uptake in Spain

    Netflix Gooses Movistar + Uptake in Spain

    MADRID — Telefonica’s Movistar +, the biggest pay TV-SVOD service in Spain, is feeling the Netflix effect. And for the good. Following Netflix’s launch on Movistar + on Dec. 11, more than one third of new subscribers to Movistar, Telefonica’s telephony, internet and TV service, have taken the new Netflix option. 35% of established clients [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content