Do new deals show MLBAM set for IPO?


When you think of the WWE do you think of baseball? No? How about Sony? How about Whistle Partners- even heard of them? What they all have in common is a connection to Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media arm, a partnership created by all MLB teams that handles its Internet, digital and interactive technology, everything from behind the scenes backroom technology to the latest in games.

If you wonder why this is important consider that MLBAM is estimated to have earned $620 million in 2012, and is rapidly extending its reach into both baseball and non baseball activities. Aside from running the MLB and Minor League Baseball websites it also runs websites for YES Networks, SportsNet NewYork and others. In backroom technology it delivers infrastructure to a variety of entities including Southwest Airlines, CBSSportsline and WatchESPN.

It has recently expanded with a flurry of new deals and announcements in the last few weeks. It now will provide back end infrastructure for Sony when that company delivers its planned cloud-based TV service. It will also be providing the technology that backs the World Wrestling Entertainment’s planned 24/7 streaming network that is expected to launch next month.

It has also entered into a deal with The Whistle, a new sports entertainment network that is targeted at young fans and athletes. MLBAM will be providing technology services and infrastructure support for the network.


In the area of games it already has one of the most popular apps of all time at the Apple app store with MLB.Com At Bat, and that is just one of a host of games that it has available for fans during the season, and you can now add another to that list, or will be able to soon.

The MLBAM has announced that it will bring back from the dead RBI Baseball, to be called RBI Baseball 14, a game that has not been available for 20 years. Details are not available as yet as to what the latest generation of the game will look like but it is expected to be available for consoles as well as for smartphones and tablets.

We are not even mentioning the programs that MLBAM has set up for baseball that include Facebook, Instagram and other social media or its move to allow fans to upgrade tickets, order food and other activities with mobile devices. These are capabilities that it could also expand on and help other sports leagues deploy for their fans.

What do all of the activities mean? It could be a sign that it is getting all of its ducks in a row prior to making a run at an IPO, according to Forbes and other sources. It is estimated that MLBAM is worth as much as $6 to $8 billion and that with the current hot IPO market MLB could cash in on its media arm, even keeping half to retain control would result in a pretty penny in all of the teams’ owners pockets.

A Foodfight comes to Minor League Baseball


For fans of minor league baseball there is now a contest for them to sink their teeth into, a competition that will seek to judge which MiLB ballpark has the best concessions in a social media driven contest sponsor by Major League Baseball’s Advanced Media arm.

The #foodfight contest will include 160 minor league ball yards and will have four different, and pretty clear, categories. They are: Gut Busters, Hogs ‘n’ Dogs, Local Legends and Scrumptious Sandwiches and voting can be done via Twitter or at the web site.

For Twitter users use the #foodfight and include the nickname of the team that is selling the food that you are voting on. You can also visit to vote for their favorite food item in each of the four categories.

You can vote early and vote often since there is no limit to the amount of times that you vote. But do so soon since the first round of voting ends next week on the 29th. The next day the final round of voting will start and run for one week with the winner announced on June 6th.

There is the potential for participants as well with a sweepstakes that includes all of the voters. The winner gets a trip to the ballpark with the winning food item and includes roundtrip airfare, accommodations, game tickets and other prizes.

If you like ball park food, visit the MiLB site to see some of the offerings that are eligible for votes. It sure has gone a long way since hot dogs and cracker jacks were the standards.

Major League Baseball’s Draft Starts Today

The ever popular Rule 4 Draft starts today. Not sure what that is? Well it is Major League Baseball’s draft of first year players from college and high school and will be an interesting 40 round affair that will occur over the next three days.

Teams pick in reverse order to standings and this year there are a few changes to the rules, based on the last Collective Barging Agreement between MLB and the players. Teams will have a ‘bonus pool’ and if they exceed that they will be taxed, and the tax rate increases quickly to 100% of the overage, with a simply 5% overage being taxed at 75%. Each team’s bonus pool is different.

Of more interest is the changing of the signing date. If a player is not signed they go back into the draft the following year. It has been moved up a month to July 13th, thus allowing players to play in the season they were drafted. Several players over the years have signed with less than two minutes left before they would go back in the draft.

The first five picks are owned by the Houston Astros, Minnesota Twins, Seattle Mariners, Baltimore Oriels and the Kansas City Royals respectively. For the full first round list look here. To watch the draft you can tune into the MLB Network starting at 7 pm ET, on June 5 and 6 the event starts at noon ET. It will also be live streamed at MLB.Com

Not surprising there is a number of sites that focus on the draft including MLB Draft Insider, Minor League Ball, Baseball America and a number of other informed and opinionated sites available. If you are looking for past information on the draft MLB a lot of that stored here.

Will MLB’s draft ever achieve the news worthiness and anticipation of the NFL’s and NBA’s? I doubt it. In those sports you see the impact, for better or worse, of the players in just a year’s time. With MLB the player often starts in the short season Single A level and then works their way up, skipping a level or two for players that really shine but aside from the very rare case of somebody like Stephen Strasburg.

Also players in high school and college baseball do not receive anywhere the notoriety and fame that the players in basketball and football do. Still the event is well worth watching so that you get an idea of where your team is looking and if they might one day shore up the week up the middle defense.