The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article today regarding MLB.com and how they outsource their streaming video technology and expertise. I watched some of the NCAA tournament games in the first round via CBS Sportsline which was powered by MLB.com. This is a great example of turning your leadership in a market niche into a nice burgeoning revenue stream.
More than five million people have flocked to CBS Corp.’s Web site to watch March Madness college-basketball games free online. For that, they and a growing number of sports fans world-wide owe some thanks to the entrepreneurial efforts of another sports leader, Major League Baseball.
It’s one of the more unlikely stories of Internet-inspired business evolution: In just a few years, Major League Baseball’s Web site (www.mlb.com) has become a major force in providing live streaming video — the equivalent of live television on a computer — for large audiences. MLB.com’s success isn’t just helping to transform the business of sports; it’s also transforming consumers’ expectations of what the Web can deliver.
MLB.com first mastered the technology to show baseball games live on its own site, itself a wildly popular business. Now, it sells its expertise, having already signed up 25 clients, including CBS, Major League Soccer and the World Championship Sports Network. Entertainers Jimmy Buffett and LL Cool J, too, have hired MLB.com to promote albums and concerts by streaming video of interviews and live performances.
Additionally, MLB.com says 15% of its total revenue last year came from these types of deals.