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Baseball Meets Hockey: MLBAM and NHL Sign Six-Year Agreement

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Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM ) won HBO as a streaming client in December, and now it's taken on the NHL, as well. The National Hockey League and MLBAM have signed a six-year agreement that will have hockey fans cheering. The two will create an online hockey hub that includes live game streaming and video-on-demand, as well as social media, fantasy gaming, apps, and plenty of stats and analysis. The partnership will also create new digital offerings for fans, sharing player stories and providing deeper game access than fans can get on TV.

Under the agreement, MLBAM will stream out-of-network games to U.S. and some international viewers (not including Canada). MLBAM streaming will include the NHL GameCenter Live and NHL Center Ice subscription offerings. MLBAM will also run NHL.com, the NHL's seven native language sites, and the club sites, and will take charge of the apps (including developing new apps). While MLBAM will do the work, the NHL and its clubs will keep editorial control for all products and services. MLBAM will also help with studio space and production assistance.

MLBAM will have everything up and running by January 2016. NeuLion was the NHL's streaming partner until now, and will assist during the transition period. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman had kind words for NeuLion's service, saying the league wouldn't have its foundation in digital without NeuLion's expertise.

Under the agreement, MLBAM is paying the NHL $100 million per year, and gets exclusive rights to distribute live, out-of-market games through NHL GameCenter Live and NHL Center Ice, and has exclusive rights to operate the NHL Network. The NHL is reportedly getting a 7 to 10 percent equity share of MLBAM.

According to ReCode, MLBAM is about to spin off its tech operations as a new business called BAM Tech, a move that should happen by the end of this year. 

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