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Baseball on a Small Screen

Boot Camp feature for Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Baseball on a small screen. Bloomberg Boot Camp, a report on today's technology. Major League Baseball is becoming the first big league sport to offer fans the ability to watch games over the Internet. Bob Bowman is CEO of MLB Advanced Media says the service is designed for displaced fans... .Dodger fans, for instance, who are still in Brooklyn...

"We'll be offering to do live video, that is live TV broadcasts, of the game via the Internet. And we'll do at least two or three games every week for each team, so that will add up to over a thousand games, almost half the season will be done in some way, live. And what that will allow the fan to do, whether he or she is at home, at work or traveling, they've got to be out of market, we won't do these in market because of the TV contracts, they'll be able to watch the game."

Some spring training contests will be offered for free. Bowman says subscriptions for the regular season will be under 10 dollars a month with pay per game also available. MLB, which is partnering with Real.com for the technology, is limiting the number of potential viewers... by requiring them to have high speed Internet access...

"Everyone's immediately rushed to the conclusion that's too bad, but there are 20 million homes that have broadband in America today. There are another, half as many, that have broadband around the world. Korea alone has five million broadband homes. In addition, almost everyone at work has a broadband connection."

It could give some fans a reason to stay late at the office. And MLB expects lots of interest from fans in Japan... especially with George Steinbrenner's importing of Godzilla, Japanese slugger Hideki Matsui. Bloomberg Boot Camp, I'm Fred Fishkin.