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MLB Announces Partnership with Tencent

Brandon Contes

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Yesterday, the first of 25 Major League Baseball games were streamed exclusively on Facebook Watch in an effort to help globalize the sport. Starting on Thursday, one MLB game each week will also be streamed on Twitter, although not exclusively.

Games on both platforms will be limited to weekday afternoons, providing fans with office jobs a streaming option when they would be unlikely to have access to linear TV.

Furthering the initiative to expand the sport’s reach, Major League Baseball announced a partnership with Chinese tech giant Tencent. According to sporttechie.com, Tencent will live stream 125 games during the season, along with the All-Star Game, postseason and World Series.

“We are thrilled to team with Tencent, the largest and best distributor of digital sports content in China and a company that is widely admired around the world. We are confident that the assortment of MLB games, shows and events that Tencent will stream will entertain millions of sports fans in China and help continue to grow the sport,” said MLB vice president for the Asia Pacific region Jim Small.

Financial terms of the Tencent deal were not disclosed, but the Chinese internet company is currently in the middle of a five-year $700 million deal with the NBA. Tencent, who also partners with the NFL, will launch their MLB agreement featuring five straight days of games called “Super Baseball Week.” After its premiere week, games in China will regularly be streamed to consumers on Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday and Sunday.

Brandon Contes is a freelance writer for BSM. He can be found on Twitter @BrandonContes. To reach him by email click here.

Sports TV News

Report: Amazon Prime Video Adding NFL Black Friday Game in 2023

Amazon, the largest retailer in the world, is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $100 million for this single game on Black Friday, one of the largest retail days on the calendar.

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Thanksgiving weekend is getting another NFL game.

Per a report from John Ourand of Sports Business Journal, Amazon’s Prime Video will add an exclusive game on Black Friday to their NFL package, beginning with the 2023 season.

Amazon, the largest retailer in the world, is expected to pay in the neighborhood of $100 million for this single game on Black Friday, one of the largest retail days on the calendar.

The NFL’s antitrust exemption prohibits the league from broadcasting games in primetime on Fridays during November, so, in all likelihood, it will be an afternoon game.

It has long been speculated this was on the table for Prime Video. Football Morning in America’s Peter King deduced the possibility was more probable than not when Prime Video became a player for NFL rights.

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Sports TV News

Liz Loza Joining ESPN As Fantasy and Sports Betting Expert

Loza will be a contributor on multiple platforms, and will make regular appearances on Fantasy Football Now, Fantasy Focus Football, Daily Wager, and other studio shows.

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Liz Loza is joining ESPN as a fantasy and sports betting analyst on a multi-year deal, the network announced Wednesday.

Loza will be a contributor on multiple platforms, and will make regular appearances on Fantasy Football Now, Fantasy Focus Football, Daily Wager, and other studio shows.

“I am thrilled to join ESPN’s best-in-class team of fantasy and betting analysts,” Loza said. “Collectively collaborating and creating content with this esteemed group – and for such an expansive and loyal fanbase – is an absolute honor. Be warned that I’m buying the dip on Cam Akers, and am always ready to bet on an underdog!”

Loza, who previously worked at Yahoo! Sports as well as co-hosting Ekeler’s Edge with Chargers running back Austin Ekeler, will make her ESPN debut today.

Her addition comes on the heels of ESPN Fantasy Football expert Matthew Berry departing in July.

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Sports TV News

John Ourand: NBC ‘Played Possum’ With Big Ten Rights

“For the longest time, I didn’t think they were serious. I had heard that their early bids were really tepid.”

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On the latest release of The Marchand and Ourand Sports Media Podcast, Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand marveled at the job NBC did to secure the Big Ten’s media rights, which is expected to be announced in the coming week.

“NBC played possum,” Ourand said. “For the longest time, I didn’t think they were serious. I had heard that their early bids were really tepid. Didn’t suggest that they were very serious. They already have a Notre Dame game that goes in there, and now they’re going to have the Big Ten. So they’re going to have Notre Dame leading into the Big Ten on Saturday night. They have the most watched primetime telecast going on –what are we at now? 11 years running? — on Sunday Night Football. And they’re gonna have, on the weekends, a really strong lineup.”

Ourand also pointed out the importance of NBC’s streaming platform, Peacock, in the deal and what that could mean for its future.

“Peacock is going to have some exclusive games. I can’t imagine — it’s certainly not going to be Ohio State/Michigan — but they’re going to have some exclusive games. And I can tell you, as a Maryland fan, if that exclusive game is Maryland versus Indiana, I’m subscribing to Peacock. That’s the whole point of streaming. It gets you into these really passionate, local fan bases and gets them to stream those games.

“NBC, coming from nowhere, to get what I think is a really good package — because I’ve been told ESPN’s deal did not include direct-to-consumer on ESPN+, it was a strict linear television deal — so NBC was able to do this for this for Peacock, which they need to build.”

Andrew Marchand, sports media columnist for The New York Post, pointed out more games on Peacock could potentially be better for fans than fewer exclusives.

“When you add one game here and one game there, it will annoy people,” Marchand said. “Maybe they get your service, or maybe you’re teaching people not to watch all your games.”

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