It isn’t often that we see one sports league relying on another for something as important as handling its broadcasts, but that is exactly what is happening thanks to a new six-year deal between the NHL and MLB Advanced Media.
NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred announced the partnership between the two organizations jointly today. As part of the deal, MLBAM earns the right to distribute all out-of-market games, including those shown through NHL GameCenter and NHL Center Ice.
“As the market leader, MLBAM is uniquely qualified to assist us in giving hockey fans a richer, more immersive experience with the game,” Bettman said in a statement released on the NHL website. “MLBAM is also the right partner because they have the expertise to help us deliver new and exciting products to our fans, who crave compelling digital content.”
While it’s easy to tie MLB Advanced Media to baseball alone, this isn’t the first time the company has lent its streaming savvy to another company. MLBAM is the company behind the HBO Now app, which was able to handle the load of big-time events like the season premiere of Game of Thrones while HBO’s own HBO Go app couldn’t keep up.
Handling live streaming of sporting events is far from easy, which is a big part of why MLBAM is home to some of the most advanced streaming tech currently available. As the company’s system is used more and more, it will likely be spun off from baseball.
Later this month, the Major League Baseball board of directors will vote on whether to spin MLBAM off into its own brand, TechCrunch’s Maury Brown reports. The new brand would even come with its own new name: BAM Tech.
As for the partnership, MLBAM will take over the app rights from NeuLion in January. There is no word on whether the app’s subscription price will change once MLBAM takes over operations, but it is currently $160 per year.