Just a few days ago, we published a report that baseball fans were watching the sport’s return, but they weren’t doing it on traditional television. We found out where they’re watching – MLB.TV.
New information from SportsBusiness seems to back that up with data that shows MLB.TV is seeing record usage so far this season. For 2020, MLB’s official streaming service has right at 1.3 million active users. That’s up 11% from 2019. And total games watched are up to 12.8 million – breaking the prior record set back in 2018 by 7%.
But the biggest increase comes in the category of total time watched. During the first two weeks of the season, total minutes watched hit 988.5 million, a number that skyrocketed 32% over 2019’s highest numbers for the same period.
And all of this comes in a shortened season that makes the service more expensive per game than it would usually be ($59.99 for a 60 game season compared to $122 for a 162 game season).
Add in the fact that a number of games have been canceled because of COVID-19 concerns (which would usually lead to lower overall viewership numbers), and it’s clear that fans were ready for baseball to be back.
Of course, not everyone is paying for the service. Like they’ve done for several seasons, T-Mobile is offering all customers a free subscription to the service. MLB usually runs a promotion where college students can get free access too, so there usually are a decent percentage of people who are watching for free.
But no matter how you view it, the fact that more people are tuning in is good news for baseball. But, the same question remains: New viewers (who likely canceled cable because there were no live sports) are on board, but will they stay?
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Source: Cord Cutters News