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Yahoo to Stream 180 MLB Live Games for Free This Season

Internet company is now selling ads, sponsorships for daily baseball webcasts

Yahoo - MLB

Yahoo will stream a total of 180 Major League Baseball games this year for free online, as the Internet media company continues to pack live sports into its media roster.

Under the pact, Yahoo will feature one free MLB game every day for the rest of the league’s regular season, subject to TV blackout restrictions in local markets. In the month of April, all 30 of the MLB’s clubs will be featured in at least one game on Yahoo Sports. On opening day Monday, Yahoo streamed the San Francisco Giants-Milwaukee Brewers afternoon game.

Yahoo offered free MLB games last year, and the league also is streaming the same games for free on MLB.com. What’s new this season is that those are now streaming in Yahoo’s video player and the company is selling the ad inventory. Yahoo also is pitching brands on deals to become presenting sponsors of its coverage of the live baseball games.

Yahoo Sports is bringing back the pro baseball content on the heels of its deal with the National Hockey League to stream up to four hockey games per week through the end of the NHL’s 2016-17 regular season. MLB Advanced Media handles the NHL’s TV and streaming distribution operations, under a six-year pact the two leagues reached in 2015.

Live sports has become a hot commodity among digital players, given its broad popularity and immediacy. On Tuesday, Twitter announced a pact with the NFL to stream 10 “Thursday Night Football” games next season to digital devices worldwide, beating out rival bidders including Facebook and Amazon.

For Yahoo, one big reason behind the push to add sports content is to fuel its fantasy sports service, which lets players pick a new daily roster every day for a chance to win cash prizes. Last fall, Yahoo became the first digital outlet to exclusively stream an NFL game, while its other live sports content has included coverage from the PGA Tour.

Separately, MLB Advanced Media sells MLB.TV subscriptions, with the premium package priced at $110 this season, with access to all 2,430 regular-season games (excluding those broadcast on TV in a user’s home market).