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Comcast RSNs connect with live, in-market streaming for 5 MLB teams

Comcast SportsNet will become the second U.S. group of regional sports networks to make contests from three major professional sports leagues available on a TV Everywhere basis with the company's newly struck agreement to live-stream Major League Baseball games in-market to authenticated viewers

After months of negotiations, NBCUniversal Media LLC's NBC Sports Regional Networks reached a deal, the financial terms of which were not disclosed, with MLB Advanced Media LP to gain the rights to stream the baseball games in market, along with related pre- and post-game shows. Starting with the 2017 season, four Comcast SportsNet regionals, which control local media rights to five MLB teams, will begin presenting the games and attendant fare to authenticated subscribers at no additional charge.

Subscribers to Comcast SportsNet Chicago (US) will be able to watch the world champion Chicago Cubs and their southside rivals, the Chicago White Sox, in and out of the home, and across multiple platforms. Similarly, verified subscribers to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia (US), Comcast SportsNet California (US) and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (US) will be able to live-stream the Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics and San Francisco Giants on the respective RSN sites on PCs, as well as on the NBC Sports app, NBC Sports Group's live-streaming product for desktops, mobile devices, tablets and connected TVs.

Through the deal, NBC Sports Regional Networks will join 21st Century Fox Inc.'s FOX Sports in offering in-market, TV Everywhere streaming of MLB, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association games. Last November, NBC Sports Regional Networks gained in-market, streaming rights for NHL games. It tipped NBA streaming in that fashion in 2014.

In reaching an accord with NBC Sports Regional Networks, MLBAM now has in-market, TVE streaming pacts covering 21 of baseball's 30 clubs. Fifteen RSNs owned by FOX Sports began proffering in-market streaming during the 2016 season, while the Toronto Blue Jays, which claim all of Canada as their home market, completed their fourth streaming season last year.

A spokesman for MLBAM said the company continues to negotiate with the RSNs tied to the other nine clubs.

AT&T Inc.'s Roots Sports, which holds the local rights to games of the Seattle Mariners, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros and the Pittsburgh Pirates, did not respond to queries seeking comment by press time.

Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (US) (Baltimore Orioles, Washington Nationals) New England Sports Network (US) (Boston Red Sox), SportsNet New York (US) (New York Mets) and SportsNet LA (US) (Los Angeles Dodgers) are the other networks that have yet to ink in-market streaming deals with MLBAM.

In conjunction with its deal covering the five MLB teams, the attendant Comcast SportsNet RSNs will look to open up a new revenue stream by deploying dynamic ad insertion to bring fresh advertisers to the streaming simulcasts, a spokeswoman for NBC Sports Regional Networks said.

NBC Sports' Playmaker Media will power the app for the MLB in-market streaming. Playmaker Media also provides end-to-end support for live streaming and video-on-demand solutions for the RSNs' NBA and NHL coverage, as well as for such national properties as the NFL and the Olympics.

The FOX RSNs pay a vendor fee for infrastructure support from BAMTech, the video streaming company that separated from MLBAM.