News Corporation may be stockpiling baseball teams


News CorporationWell, not the teams – but the rights to bring their games into the households of baseball fans in several markets across the nation. It has already acquired a stake in marquee franchise New York Yankees.

On top of that, it has been widely reported to be in talks to pay a bundle of cash to lock down the rights to another marquee franchise on the other coast, that being the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Reports have also surfaced about talks in progress on the shores of Lake Erie to acquire rights to the Cleveland Indians.

Now, SNL Kagan is reporting that Baltimore Business Journal is reporting that the company is in “on-and-off” discussions to acquire the rights to both the American League Baltimore Orioles and National League Washington Nationals. The two teams are currently brought to MVPD subscribers over the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

RBR-TVBR observation: One thing about baseball – its ability to load a rights-holder with content is unparalleled. They only play 16 regular season professional football games – but baseball teams play 162. Add in over a month of spring training and a lengthy post season and there is fresh material available from February through October, with plenty of hot-stove interest in the trading and free agent markets thrown in for good measure.

The advent of fantasy baseball has created a wide pool of fanatical followers who often watch regardless of which teams are playing, to follow the major league players they happen to “own” themselves.

We hear from time to time that News Corporation is thinking of taking on Disney’s ESPN, and a strong hold on MLB would make a good foundation for such an attempt.