MLB Advanced Media’s Bob Bowman Talks TV Ratings and Digital Media

CEO of Major League Baseball Advanced Media, Bob Bowman, recently sat for an interview with Bloomberg TV to discuss the World Series ratings and media consumption, the present and future of digital media and technology in Major League Baseball, the advantage MLB has over other pro sports, and more. You can view the full interview here. Check out some notable quotes I pulled from the more memorable points made by Bowman —

On low TV ratings for the 2014 World Series:
“Looking at TV ratings in a vacuum…We’ve had hundreds of millions of people online, billions of impressions, hundreds of millions of videos viewed…Nielsen looks at engagement with advertisers. But engagement and advertisers are all over the media map now. TV is vital, but it’s not the only way people are enjoying this World Series.”

“The size of the market [of the World Series teams, SF and KC] is what it is…It’s a testimony to the balance we have in this great game (and competitive balance).”

“Baseball continues to win the nights in the local markets…We’re as much a local game as national. We’re both…Live baseball is vitally important and it generally beats everything else (on TV) or compares favorably…Added to that, the world is changing…(We) clearly understand the digital media is essential to the success of any media, particularly live sports.”

On emerging digital media and other technology for MLB:
“One thing you’re seeing on TV is player tracking…it tells us how fast runners run, how quick their jump is, how strong their throw is…Those kind of data we can now collect on every play and make available to our fans show that technology is not something to be feared, but something we can rely on and make the game a lot more interesting for our fans.” (roll-out to all teams in 2015)

“(Instant replay) has worked extremely well. The umpires want to get everything right…It’s (MLB’s SVPof Baseball Operations) Joe Torre’s vision and ideas. I think we want to get more cameras on first base (because of high number of challenges there). We’re the AV people. We listen to (the baseball people), take their advice, and do what we need to do.”


On MLB’s At-Bat App:
“I hope you’ll see it on the Apple Watch. We’re in every device you can imagine…The nature of baseball, people come and check their team four or five times a day and there’s no better place to keep up with something that important to you than your phone…The At-Bat App tries to feed that need of all of our fans. It is opened five or six million times every day. Hundreds of millions fans are touching the game of baseball through all the digital media…We hope to be on every device so fans can stay in touch with the game.”

“Our job is to make sure technology enhances the effort to see the game, but to make sure we bring the game as it is. It is a great game, a grand game, and it’s ready for this digital age as I hope we’ve been a small part in helping to show.”

On digital media and the other major pro sports leagues:
“Everyone is trying to optimize their multimedia experience, integrated media experience for their fans. I think we had a head start due to the vision of Commissioner Selig and I think we will be able to extend our lead because of the commitment of incoming Commissioner Manfred. So I think we’re in a great spot in a great game.”

Posted by Neil Horowitz

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