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MLB owners meet, discuss Fox RSNs, pace of play and more

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The owners meetings in Orlando have concluded.

Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.