Have I seen the future of baseball revenue?

Spring Training Peoria Arizona

Ah, spring training, where hope springs eternal and your favorite MLB baseball team has a shot if only for a few weeks.

As many have said before the system of funding MLB teams is broken; long ago it was agreed that television revenue would be kept by the local team.  As a result we have two teams, the Red Sox (with the NESN network) and the Yankees (with the YES network) who bring in the bulk of the baseball TV revenue.  The large market wannabes like the Giants and the Dodgers bring in a fair bit, but not on the scale of the Red Sox/Yankees.  The Yankees bring in so much money that they could pay for 1/3 of the best players in the league.

Ten years ago bright people at MLB decided that internet revenue would be kept by MLB itself and shared with the rest of the league (All TV money in football is shared).  Individual teams are restricted from offering Web Streaming and making local money.  Which brings me to Roku, Apple TV and Xbox with MLB.TV; with a Roku today you need to sign up for MLB.TV which makes you swear on your first born that you’ll not watch your local team on MLB.TV but provide you the ability to link to a roku/apple TV/xbox so you can sacrifice said child to the gods of MLB.  It makes no sense, why would you sign up for MLB.TV on your Roku, if not to watch your local team?

If more people give up cable and watch streaming internet, then the future is not only watching baseball on your Roku/Boxee/Xbox/Tivo?, but seeing the Yankees and the Redsox get less money from their TV Cable franchises and seeing the A’s, Royals and Twins get more competitive from money delivered to them by MLB.TV.  This would be VERY good for baseball.

-Bill

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