MLB exec dismisses IPO talk for MLBAM

MLB Advanced Media, the interactive media and internet company of Major League Baseball, is unlikely to carry out an initial public offering, according to senior MLB executive Bob Bowman.

MLBAM, which is equally owned by the 30 individual MLB teams, has been the focus of speculation in recent months with the league reportedly keen to capitalise on its growing status as a go-to provider for companies looking to stream video over the internet.

The New York Post newspaper said last month that Bowman (pictured), MLBAM chief executive and MLB president of baseball and media, had hired Goldman Sachs and Evercore to explore options for the non-baseball entity, including an IPO or the sale of a minority stake to an outside investor.

However, Bowman told US broadcaster CNBC: “There probably won't be an IPO.” Instead, he discussed a framework to sell part of the league’s technology arm to a private buyer. “We're going to carve out our technology business, and we're talking to dozens of strategic investors,” he added.

Bowman also gave an updated timeline for when this would take place, saying they “hope to have something this month in terms of a book out”. Further clarifying the timeline, he said: “We are going to talk to a lot of people this month. Our hope and prayer is we are somewhere by the World Series.”

MLBAM has aided the launch of the WWE wrestling organisation’s WWE Network and sports broadcaster ESPN’s Watch ESPN service, while it is also helping to deliver online pay-television services for HBO and Sony.

In other news, MLBAM has partnered with US airline JetBlue to offer its customers free in-flight access to live streaming service MLB.TV. Passengers will be able to access MLB.TV on their laptops and supported smartphones and tablets through the MLB.com At Bat mobile app.

The agreement brings free, internet streaming of live regular season baseball games to an airline for the first time.  While MLB.TV typically requires a subscription, JetBlue customers will receive free access while in flight through ‘The Hub,’ JetBlue's Fly-Fi content portal.

MLB.TV becomes the first live sports property to join JetBlue's list of brands offering content on JetBlue flights.