Major League Baseball owners have been meeting in Orlando, Florida for the last couple of days. The meetings have just concluded, and Eric Fisher of Sports Business Journal has tweeted out some things that were discussed. Here are some of the more important highlights:
MLB owners meetings are done in Orlando - a few quick hits. First - owners did discuss RSN situation at length. The league has moved to a second stage of bidding that allows them access to more info, and is hopeful this will present a chance to have more control re local rights— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) February 8, 2019
This is important, as I wrote a couple of days ago, because it appears that whoever eventually buys the 21 Fox RSNs that are up for sale might wind up being the Cubs’ “strategic partner” when they launch their own network. Based on Fisher’s tweet, it doesn’t seem as if there’s much additional information beyond what I posted Wednesday. It does, however, indicate that “local rights” — possibly streaming, though I’m speculating here — could be under control of the teams.
As that happens, there were be authenticated in-market streaming again in 2019. After prior Fox deal expires after last season, a new one has been done. Terms have been offered to Comcast, MLB waiting on response. AT&T also set to go.— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) February 8, 2019
This is something that’s been going on for the last two or three years. NBC Sports Chicago is part of the Comcast group, and I don’t see any reason that group and channel won’t sign a deal for in-market streaming before Opening Day.
Just as a reminder, this would mean you could stream Cubs games on your phone or tablet if you live in the Cubs market territory, but only if you already have a cable or satellite subscription that includes NBC Sports Chicago.
Manfred unsure of potential changes re '19 pace of play. Next week or so will determine a lot. He's encouraged that MLBPA came back to them responsively, but said the union proposal was big, really took big to take all on at once.— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) February 8, 2019
We’ve discussed these proposals here; there will certainly have to be a decision soon, as spring training games begin in just 15 days (for the Cubs, anyway). It hasn’t been specifically stated by anyone, yet, but I am reasonably certain we will have a pitch clock in 2019.
Also, relaxed rules around MLB IP/highlights to aid player marketing and MLB players will wear uniform and cap patches to help commemorate 150th anniversary re pro baseball. (Much more to come on that in Monday's SBJ).— Eric Fisher (@EricFisherSBJ) February 8, 2019
From a fan standpoint, the first part of this tweet might be the most important. If MLB is really going to “relax” rules regarding intellectual property (the “IP” mentioned) and game highlights, it might mean that fans could tweet out highlights without having the MLB lawyers swoop down on them. It’s possibly the single most important way MLB can promote the game and get younger people excited about baseball without spending a single dollar.
As always, we await further developments.