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Watching Out for Wireless Pirates

Techstination feature for Monday, February 17, 2003

Watching baseball on the Web. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Baseball is becoming the first major league sport to offer video as well as audio coverage of games on the Web. The service will be available this upcoming season for high speed Internet service subscribers. Bob Bowman, CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, says to avoid conflicts with TV contracts, games will only be available to out of market fans. Red Sox fans, for instance, who might live in New York...

"That fan can buy it, just for the Red Sox, probably six, seven, eight 95 a month will get you all the Red Sox games live on the Internet. Or they can buy the whole league probably for like twelve 95, so you get every game, every day if they wanted if they're really just a baseball fan and not just a specific team fan. And also they can buy a pay per view. If there's a big game they want to watch, and you're out of market and you want to plunk down two or three 95 you can go ahead and watch just one game pay per view."

Baseball is partnering with Real Networks for the streaming technology. Bowman says some spring training games will be available for free. Audio coverage of games has been available for a few years... and has attracted about a million subscribers. The video venture is more limited because it is only available to people with high speed instead of dial up Internet connections...

"Everyone's immediately rushed to the conclusion, that's too bad but there are twenty million homes that have broadband in America today. There are plenty... millions and millions of broadband homes. In addition, almost everyone at work has a broadband connection."

And while the quality isn't is good as TV, it gives out of market fans an alternative to higher priced satellite packages.