Major League Baseball (MLB) held its annual All-Star Game on Tuesday.
That isn’t the only extravaganza the league can take credit for this month.
Last weekend, Disney’s film “Black Widow” set a record COVID-era box office take of $80m. It also added $60m to the steaming service Disney+…
… which is actually a descendent of the MLB
How? The story starts in 2000. It’s the height of the dot-com bubble and MLB commissioner Bud Selig wants to take part, per The Verge.
He asks each of the 30 MLB teams to chip in $4m — $120m total — to launch a venture called Major League Baseball Advanced Media (BAM).
BAM’s initial task is to create a website for each team but it soon takes up new projects, including launching a video streaming service.
The 1st streaming MLB game…
… is between the New York Yankees and Texas Rangers on August 26, 2002.
Years before both YouTube (2005) and Netflix (2007), BAM is mastering:
- Delivering online video at scale
- Multi-device sync (so games can be watched on laptop, PCs, mobile)
- Data centers and broadband infrastructure
BAM commercializes the industry-leading tech
In the mid-2010s, it creates streaming products for WWE, PGA, NHL, and HBO.
Due to its success, MLB decides to spin the business out, creating BAMTech. By 2017, Disney — which is transitioning to streaming — acquires a 75% stake for $2.6B (over 2 transactions).
Shortly after, Disney announces it will launch a streaming product for its outrageously good IP catalog (i.e., Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Classic Films).
Disney+ goes live in November 2019
The global pandemic hits a few months later and digital content explodes as people are stuck at home.
By March 2021 — only 16 months after launch — Disney+ hits 100m+ subscribers. The technology underpinning all of the streaming content is none other than BAMTech (now called Disney Streaming Services).
So yeah, that’s how MLB helped create Disney+. Not a bad few days.