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REPORT: Amazon to Start Streaming MLB Games in Partnership With the Yankees

Last week, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said teams had “approved unanimously a revised interactive media rights agreement.” The goal for the revised agreement “was the return of certain in-market digital rights — the rights that have essentially become substitutional with broadcast rights — those rights will return to the clubs.”

Well it seems the Yankees are ready to start practicing their new found freedom as the New York Post reported the team is gearing up to become the first MLB team to let fans stream games without a cable subscription. According to the Post, the team has partnered with Amazon and will allow the tech giant to stream a limited number of Yankees games on Prime Video as early as 2020. The intent is to offer an annual streaming package in the long term.

In March, Amazon, Sinclair Media Group and New York Yankees jointly purchased YES Network, which is considered the most-watched regional sports network (RSN). The channel broadcasts games for the New York Yankees, Brooklyn Nets, New York City FC and New York Liberty.

The Yankees are able to strike such a deal because they own 20 percent of their local TV network, which means they won’t contend with the YES network over streaming rights. The only problem for the Yankees may come from cable companies that carry YES games like Spectrum and Optimum, which could potentially claim having rights to air all games — including streamed games, under their contracts with YES, the Post reported.

The Yankees and Amazon deal might set precedent for other teams such as the Kansas City Royals and the Miami Marlins to take control of their streaming rights. The Royals’ contract with their RSN expires before next season, while the Marlins’ expires next year. Both those teams RSNs are owned by Sinclair.

Photo credit: Dan Gold on Unsplash

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