Major League Baseball has sold its 15% stake in the BAMTech streaming platform to the Walt Disney Company, the Associated Press reports. Disney paid the league $900MM to buy out MLB’s final share in BAMTech, according to filings with the SEC. Disney now owns the service completely.
BAMTech has its roots in the MLB Advanced Media platform, which was created back in 2000. MLB’s digital media arm has long been regarded as an industry leader that has generated strong revenues for the league. Disney had increasingly invested in BAMTech in recent years, purchasing a 75% share by 2017 in a deal that saw each MLB team receive roughly $50MM in additional revenue. The corporation bought out a 10% share owned by the National Hockey League last year for $350MM and completed the process with this month’s purchase from MLB.
The proceeds of the sale are expected to be distributed evenly among teams. As Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes, that represents a roughly $30MM windfall for each club. Whether that’ll lead teams to more freely invest in player payroll remains to be seen, although it’s a notable bump in revenue for organizations that could theoretically serve as a catalyst for an uptick in free agent spending.
At the end of October, commissioner Rob Manfred told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times that MLB earned just below $11 billion in revenue this year (Twitter link). That’s presumably slightly above pre-pandemic levels, as the league reported $10.7 billion in revenue back in 2019. MLB did not announce a revenue figure in either 2020 or ’21.