Discovery, MLB's Streaming Business Partner to Launch BAMTech Europe

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Bob Bowman

The networks company announces the news after its latest earnings report.

Discovery Communications said Tuesday that it has struck a long-term partnership with BAMTech, the streaming business of Major League Baseball, including the formation of joint venture BAMTech Europe, a digital technology provider dedicated to working with content owners, networks and OTT platforms to enhance their digital capabilities, reach and performance across Europe.

Financial terms weren't disclosed.

As part of the partnership, Eurosport Digital will become the new entity’s first client and gain access to select European sports rights from worldwide sports properties, including current and future rights acquired by BAMTech and jointly by Eurosport and BAMTech.

BAMTech Europe will be formed through a joint venture between Discovery and BAMTech, a subsidiary of Major League Baseball’s digital business, MLB Advanced Media.

The new venture will represent BAMTech’s expansion in Europe and will provide world-class digital technology services to a broad set of sports, news and entertainment clients in Europe. BAMTech has successfully designed, developed and delivered direct-to-consumer streaming services over the past 14 years, currently serving 7.5 million total global paid subscribers with its U.S.-based clients’ OTT products. With hundreds of millions of mobile data subscribers and growing OTT momentum via connected TVs and other devices, Europe provides a significant strategic opportunity to bring together BAMTech’s world-class technology and Discovery’s deep presence and relationships across the continent.

Earlier this year, BAMTech struck a deal with Walt Disney, which saw the latter make a $1 billion investment in the firm in return for a 33 percent stake.

Eurosport Digital is the first partner for BAMTech Europe through a long-term digital services agreement. BAMTech’s video platform and services will be implemented in 2017 across all of Eurosport Digital’s products, which include Eurosport.com and the Eurosport Player, a subscription-based OTT sports platform.

"In addition, Eurosport and BAMTech will work together to make premium sports events more widely available across multiple screens," the companies said. This will include current and future rights acquired by BAMTech and joint acquisitions for other European sports rights from across the globe.

“Discovery has been investing internationally in new business models and brands for decades, resulting in the most extensive global footprint in media,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery. “The formation of this world-class technology provider, BAMTech Europe, with our partners at BAMTech accelerates Discovery’s long-term strategy to bring our premium content to more viewers across more screens than ever before.”

“The collaboration of Discovery’s breadth of live sports content, including the Olympic Games, and BAMTech will bring European fans access to these valuable events like never before,” said Bob Bowman, MLB president, business and media. “Discovery has been a global leader in media and will be a great partner in expanding BAMTech to Europe, with an eye to developing new models for delivering content in the best interests of customers.”

Discovery has been focusing on growing its digital business. Former BBC digital top executive Ralph Rivera was recently named managing director of Eurosport Digital. Discovery also recently announced a digital content partnership to form Group Nine Media, which focuses on millennials and immediately became one of the largest digital content and social video companies.

 

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