And you might be asking “What’s BAMTech?”
It’s the name of the company, originally part of MLB Advanced Media (you see, I assume, where “BAM” comes from), that was sold off to the Walt Disney Company last summer:
Under terms of the transaction, Disney will pay $1.58 billion to acquire an additional 42% stake in BAMTech—a global leader in direct-to-consumer streaming technology and marketing services, data analytics, and commerce management—from MLBAM, the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. Disney previously acquired a 33% stake in BAMTech under an agreement that included an option to acquire a majority stake over several years, and today’s announcement marks an acceleration of that timetable for controlling ownership.
That sale is going to make MLB owners richer than they already are:
According to multiple sources all 30 MLB teams are expected to receive a payment of approximately $50 million dollars in the first quarter of 2018 for the previous sale of BAM. #MLB— Jim Bowden (@Jim_BowdenSXM) December 15, 2017
Craig Calcaterra of Hardball Talk says that $50 million estimate might be low:
Some people I’ve spoken to who are familiar with the acquisition say the figure is more like $68 million in Q1 of 2018. Good for the owners! It was a savvy, forward-thinking investment that, in the past, baseball owners might not have made. Bud Selig, Bob Bowman and others deserve credit for convincing the Jeff Lorias and Jerry Reinsdorfs of the world to think big and long term. It’s money out of the sky, raining down upon the owner of your baseball team for, basically, doing nothing.
BAMTech is the technology behind MLB.tv, as well as the live streaming the NHL uses for its games. Disney will be using the technology for ESPN’s live streaming as well as other live streaming the company is planning on doing in the future.
Now, don’t expect the Cubs to suddenly spend $68 million, or even $50 million, on ballplayers. There’s the luxury tax to consider, for one thing. But as Calcaterra said, the investment MLB made years ago in this forward-thinking technology has paid off for owners, who hopefully will eventually spread that money around, whether it’s in free-agent signings or ballpark upgrades.