REDMOND, Wash., and NEW YORK -- March 22, 2004 -- With the opening of the 2004 championship baseball season just one week away, Microsoft Corp. and MLB Advanced Media (mlb.com) today announced a wide-ranging multiyear deal that offers Major League Baseball fans a range of options for following their favorite team online in the United States.
As part of one of the largest Internet-only content deals to date, Major League Baseball video highlights, plays of the week, news stories and more are now available on MSN.com. In addition, all services included in the MLB.com All Access service, the all-encompassing product offering live, archived, condensed games and more, are now available to subscribers of MSN? Premium, the premier all-in-one MSN service for broadband users. Several individual MLB.com subscription products, including MLB.TV, the live-game, out-of-market video service produced by MLB.com, will also be promoted on MSN.com. With more than 250 live games each month, MLB.TV, which is included in the MLB.com All Access service, provides and offers more live baseball action than any other service on the Internet. These services launch tomorrow on MSN and are available at http://baseball.msn.com/.
In the future, Microsoft and MLB.com will enable consumers to watch MLB games on their Microsoft? Windows Mobile?-based Portable Media Centers , an exciting new category of handheld devices created for people who want to enjoy their digital movies, recorded television, photos and music on the go.
"MSN is our top choice to provide live video Internet broadcasts of all MLB games because it is the No. 1 general destination on the Web, with 350 million monthly unique visitors worldwide," said Allan H. "Bud" Selig, commissioner of baseball. "MSN's global reach, significant subscriber base and software innovation enable us to bring Major League Baseball to the most far-reaching audience in the most exciting way possible."
"MSN and MLB.com are delivering a home-run opportunity for everyone on the Internet, whether they want to see the hottest video highlights on MSN Video or receive the full MLB.com All Access package as part of their MSN Premium subscription," said Yusuf Mehdi, corporate vice president of the MSN Information Services & Merchant Platform division at Microsoft. "We're thrilled to join with MLB.com to offer the highest-demand content on the Internet today to the broadest audience ever at an incredible value."
MSN and MLB Deliver Home Run Offerings
With today's announcement, MSN and MLB become the exclusive co-promoters and co-providers of MLB.TV, the live, out-of-market video broadcasts of baseball games offered by MLB.com. These live video broadcasts of approximately 250 games each month are available to MSN Premium subscribers and via separate subscription packages promoted on MSN.com, including these:
MSN Premium subscribers receive MLB.com All Access, which includes MLB.TV, offering live video broadcasts of more than 250 games per month (local blackouts apply); MLB Condensed Games, offering 20-minute condensed versions of every game on MLB.TV; MLB.com Post-Game Highlights; MLB.com Custom Cuts, sending video highlights of consumers' favorite players via e-mail; and MLB.com Gameday Audio, which provides live radio broadcasts of all games, as part of their $9.95 monthly MSN Premium subscription. That's an added value of $19.95 per month, or $99.95 for the season. MSN Premium also provides a range of rich communication, security and information services for people to use on their existing broadband connection.
MSN 9 Dial-up subscribers receive MLB.com Gameday Audio, offering live audio broadcasts of every game, every feed, and home and away for every game this season, enabling people to listen to home and away team broadcasts for each game.
MLB.com All Access, including the features described above, also is available for $19.95 per month or $99.95 per season.
MLB.TV, featuring the live video features described above, is available for $14.95 per month or $79.95 per season.
MLB.com Gameday Audio, featuring the audio service described above, is available for $14.95 per season.
In addition, MSN and MLB offer a range of extensive and compelling free content on MSN.com, including video highlights of most MLB games, plus special video highlight features including best plays, home runs, and plays of the week; best moments in MLB history; and more, on MSN Video. Finally, tomorrow MSN will launch a special baseball section on MSN.com featuring news, MSN Video content, and easy access to other MLB.com content and subscription services at http://baseball.msn.com/.
As part of the deal, MSN will manage and sell all advertising on MLB.TV, the MLB.com Gameday Audio service, MSN Video and other areas on MSN.com. The deal also includes extensive co-branding, marketing and promotional activities from both MSN and MLB.com. In addition, the deal does not limit MLB.com's ability to use formats or technology other than Windows Media?. Finally, with this deal, MSN will link to MLB.com's pitch-by-pitch service and that service will be co-branded.
Broad Alliance Planned to Enable MLB Fans to View Games on Portable Media Center Devices
Baseball fans are scheduled to have many options for viewing MLB games as part of the overarching alliance between Microsoft and MLB.com. In the future, fans will be able to download and watch archived MLB.com full or condensed games, as well as highlights, on their Portable Media Center. Additional details will be shared closer to availability.
About MLB Advanced Media
Established in June 2000 following a unanimous vote by the 30 Major League Baseball club owners to centralize all of Baseball's Internet operations, MLB Advanced Media LP (MLBAM) is the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site, http://www.mlb.com/, and each of the 30 individual Club sites to create the most comprehensive Major League Baseball resource on the Internet. MLB.com offers fans the most complete baseball information on the Web, including up-to-date statistics, game summaries, extensive historical information and exclusive features about Major League Baseball events and programs, including online ticket sales, baseball merchandise, authenticated memorabilia and collectibles, fantasy games, live and archived radio broadcasts of every game, live and archived video webcasts of entire games, pitch-by-pitch enactment of games, and hosted post-game video highlight shows. MLB.com offered more live events on the Internet than any other Web site in the world, with over 40,000 hours of live programming, in 2003. Fans listened to or watched nearly 600 million minutes of streaming audio and video during the year.
MSN attracts more than 350 million unique users worldwide per month. With localized versions available globally in 38 markets and 18 languages, MSN is a world leader in delivering Web services to consumers and ad sales to businesses worldwide. The most useful and innovative online service today, MSN brings consumers everything they need from the Web to make the most of their time online. MSN is located on the Web at http://www.msn.com/. MSN worldwide sites are located at http://www.msn.com/worldwide.ashx.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.