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MLB Advanced Media - Mini Case Study
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MLB Advanced Media - Mini Case Study


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This is a brief overview of including some key stats and facts, most recently related with more details about their mobile applications. I currently view MLB as the single leader at monetising …

This is a brief overview of including some key stats and facts, most recently related with more details about their mobile applications. I currently view MLB as the single leader at monetising sport through digital channels and I prepared this overview for a work shop I ran for Australian Rugby Union and Cricket Australia.

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  • 1.
    Mini Case Study
    Prepared by
    Martin Walsh
    Digital Marketing Director
  • 2. Background
    • launched in 2000
    • 3. MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) was backed by all 30 MLB teams
    • 4. Each team contributed less than $3m each to get the MLBAM startup off the ground
    • 5. Initial investment has been paid back in full to all teams
    Situational Context
    • In 2007, MLB generated USD$6.1b in revenue and NFL generated USD$6.3b
    • 6. Super Bowl drew in 100m viewers in 2008 while only 17m bothered to tune into the 2007 World Series.
    • 7. But, baseball has found increasingly inventive ways to ramp up revenue from:
    • 8. Counterintuitively reducing the number of seats in stadiums
    • 9. to selling streaming video of baseball games online - hitting record revenues for 5 consecutive years.
  • offers fans the most complete baseball information on the web, including :
    • up-to-date statistics
    • 10. game summaries
    • 11. extensive historical information
    • 12. exclusive features about Major League Baseball events and programs
    • 13. forums and message boards
    • 14. blogs
    • 15. on-line ticket sales
    • 16. baseball merchandise
    • 17. authenticated memorabilia and collectibles
    • 18. fantasy games
    • 19. live and archived radio broadcasts of every game
    • 20. live and archived video webcasts of entire games
    • 21. pitch-by-pitch enactment of games
    • 22. hosted post-game video highlight shows
  • Key Statistics
    • generated USD$380m in 2007 up from $236m in 2005 and is growing more than 30% per annum
    • 23. gets 8m UU’s per day during the season
    • 24. sells more than 500k annual season subscriptions of live game video priced from $80-$120
    • 25. Streams as many as 3m videos per day
    • 26. MLBAM now manages content for numerous online affiliates such as NCAA and French tennis Open
    • 27. has boosted ticket sales using digital channels
    • 28. tickets used to slide 72 hours before game
    • 29. 27m+ tickets sold online in 2007 (total MLB tickets sold 79.5m)
    • 30. accounted for 34% of all ticket sales in 2007
    • 31. At least 8 teams now deliver last-minute digital ticket sales to mobiles
  • MLB and Mobiles – as at 23 September 2009
    • The At Bat application can be downloaded in the App Store for $9.99 and users can then stream complete MLB games to their iPhone for $0.99 each (see story).
    • 32. MLB’s iPhone portfolio also includes the GameDay, LiveAudio and LiveVideo applications.
    • 33. The brand's applications have been downloaded more than a million times and 400,000 of the downloads are for paid applications.
    • 34.’sWAP site today gets 25 million page views daily, which includes 4 million unique visitors.
    So what has learned? What are the secrets to a successful mobile application?
    • “Great content matters—it matters how you present your content, what it looks like and how easy it is to use,” Mr. Bowman said. “How you get your app discovered is very important and it’s hard even if you’re Major League Baseball.
    • 35. “We’re trying to get people to use our apps, not ESPN’s apps, and it’s not enough just to say ‘We’re baseball,’” he said. “The notion of a one-minute delay is unacceptable, it has to be now, because people want to be the first to know, they want to see it on their phone before they hear about it on TV.
    • 36. “Another important piece is providing ease of payment, and iTunes plays a key role, but it’s important for billing systems to be user-friendly because it’s a pain in the butt for a lot of people to type on their phones.”
    “Whereas with subscription products on other channels people might use it once or twice a week, our mobile app consumers use it every day, which is staggering,” Mr. Bowman said. “We’ve seen phenomenal usage levels and it’s because you have the phone with you all the time.
    “It stays next to you at your bedside table and it’s the first thing you look at in the morning when you wake up,” he said.
    Robert Bowman is president/CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media