Ten years ago today. A crowd of 42,785 at Yankee Stadium watched as New York Yankees starter Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez threw a first pitch strike to Texas Rangers outfielder Todd Hollandsworth. Meanwhile, at precisely the same moment another 30,000 fans from 60 countries around the world accessed a new technology developed by MLB Advanced Media via a media player just larger than a postage stamp, becoming witnesses to digital media history as they watched MLB.TV’s first-ever live streamed game.
Ten years, more than 25,000 live games and millions of subscribers later, MLB.TV is the most widely distributed – accessible on thousands of computers, mobile phones, tablets and connected devices with one subscription – and successful live video subscription product in digital media.
“Thanks to the vision of Commissioner Selig and the 30 Club owners, we are grateful for the opportunity to have served so many fans their daily installment of live baseball over the past decade,” said Bob Bowman, President & CEO, MLBAM.
After its debut in 2002, MLB.TV earned its share of praise, including from the Yankees Derek Jeter.
“It's expanding, which is a good step,” Jeter said. “We may get into a situation where you don't have to have a specific channel to see a game. It will reach more people, because fans that follow teams but can't see them because they live on the other coast will now have a way to see their team play.”
At that time, others shared perspectives similar to the All-Star shortstop.
“I would be hard-pressed to name anything that I have waited for so long on the Internet.” International Herald Tribune
“I have seen the future, and it's pretty neat.” Chicago Sun-Times
Meanwhile, others were critical and skeptical.
“Too choppy and too fuzzy.” - New York Times
“I’m not sure (MLB) is going to be very successful.” - Toronto Globe and Mail
“To watch a game in a 2-by-3 (inch) box is not ideal.” - SportsBusiness Journal
MLB.TV 2012 (as of 8/26/12)
• 1.1 million live video streams per day
• 27.3 million mobile live video streams. Surpassed 2011 mobile total on 6/26
MLB.TV 2002 - Present
• 1.5 billion live video streams
• 3.7 million total subscribers
• 55.7 million mobile live video streams
Expert analysts in digital media have taken notice of the MLB.TV live streaming service, including:
“Viewing options that make a DVR seem primitive.” - Fast Company
“A market leader when it comes to digital.” - Mashable
“Cutting edge of how sports fans are using technology.” - Marketwatch
“One of the most successful subscription businesses in digital media.” - AllThingsD
“Established a reputation as a technology powerhouse.” - Fortune
“The interest in our teams day in and day out is the best in the world for eight months every year,” said Dinn Mann, Executive Vice President, Content, MLBAM. “MLB.TV was launched to serve that appetite, and we've looked to those great fans for our mission all along: deliver the game they love, live, on whatever screen is handy and with technology that raises the bar.”
To commemorate MLB.TV’s 10-year anniversary, MLBAM is offering a subscription to MLB.TV Premium for $10. This offer is valid through 11:59 p.m. EDT on Monday, August 27, 2012. MLB.TV Premium subscribers also get At Bat 12 for free on supported iOS and Android devices.