‘BAM Tech’ Is a Go as MLB Owners Approve Digital Media Spin-Off

The worst kept secret in baseball is finally official, as MLB Advanced Media’s Board of Directors unanimously approved the creation of a standalone digital media company, dubbed “BAM Tech”, at the MLB Owners quarterly meetings in Chicago this week. The entity, which will focus on non-MLB ventures while MLBAM continues to service the baseball business, is reportedly valued at about $8 billion and majority owned by all 30 MLB clubs. The board also endorsed an ongoing search for strategic investors and other investment opportunities. According to Forbes’ Maury Brown, BAM Tech could formally be launched by the end of the year.

The NHL's John Collins and Gary Bettman with MLB's Rob Manfred and Bob Bowman at the official announcement of the partnership at the NHL's offices in New York City.

The NHL’s John Collins and Gary Bettman (both left) with MLB’s Rob Manfred and Bob Bowman at the official announcement of the partnership at the NHL’s offices in New York City.

The official approval of BAM Tech is a longtime coming following months of a rumors regarding a potential IPO or spin-off. MLBAM President/CEO Bob Bowman then confirmed last month that there would be no IPO after all and the league would opt instead for private equity investment.

MLB has been powering major streaming offerings for several years, including its own MLB.TV streaming service and MLB AtBat app, ESPN’s WatchESPN TV Everwhere platform and ESPN3 digital network offerings, and CBS/Turner’s March Madness Live during the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament each year. Since it was tapped to power the WWE Network’s launch in early 2014, MLBAM has become a go-to provider for content owners that wish to launch their own OTT network but outsource the backend infrastructure required to do so. MLBAM’s most notable efforts over the past year include the launch of HBO’s HBO Now and Sony’s PlayStation Vue direct-to-consumer offerings.

Despite the fact that it was not officially approved until Thursday, Bowman openly referred to BAM Tech during last week’s announcement of an NHL-MLBAM digital media rights deal that includes a 7-10% minority stake in BAM Tech for the NHL. MLB will now look to seek out additional private investors and, according to the Forbes report, could include additional content-owning strategic partners like the NHL.

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