Yahoo is offering free live streams of one Major League Baseball game every day this season, the company announced on Monday.
The service launched on Monday afternoon by broadcasting the season opener between the San Francisco Giants and the Milwaukee Brewers. Yahoo will broadcast 180 games for the whole season. Games in local markets will be blacked out because of the league’s agreement with local sports broadcasters.
The move is the latest in Yahoo’s efforts to boost its sports-content business and general live-streaming technology. Yahoo is also offering free broadcasts of select NHL games this season, and was the first online provider to live stream an NFL game last year. Yahoo is even live streaming Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting this year.
It’s also a sign that Yahoo sees live streaming as another viable source of revenue. All streams are ad-supported, meaning that there will be commercial breaks, just like on regular TV broadcasts.
In fact, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer said in the company’s most recent earnings call that the NFL live stream brought in 30 different brands for over roughly 70 ad spots. She also stressed that Yahoo sold out all ad spots for the game, although there’s been some reports of Yahoo slashing the ad price because of low demand.
In any case, Yahoo seems focused on staying relevant in the live-streaming space, an area that’s seen major competition from big tech companies like Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter. If it can continue to grow its presence there while also expanding its sports-content offering, then Yahoo might be able to win back some of the support from investors who’ve been calling for the company to narrow its focus to a few growth businesses.
By Eugene Kim