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Disney Buys MLB’s BAMTech Stake for $900 Million

Last Updated: December 1, 2022
The media powerhouse already owned 85% of the company formerly known as MLB Advanced Media before becoming full owner this week.

Disney officially owns 100% of BAMTech after buying Major League Baseball‘s remaining stake in the streaming giant video technology company. Disney, which previously had 85% stake prior to the acquisition, bought the remaining 15% from MLB for $900 million, per an SEC filing made public on Tuesday.

Earlier this month, they changed the naming rights to “Disney Streaming,” while Disney and MLB had the right to force a buyout of the stake earlier this year. The SEC noted that MLB’s interest in BAMTech was recorded in the entertainment company’s financial statements at $828 million.

BAMTech has become an integral piece of the company’s streaming services, powering Disney+ and Hulu, as well as some of Disney’s other offerings. When Disney initially acquired equity in the tech company in 2017, then-CEO Bob Iger said it was the “beginning of the reinvention of the Walt Disney Company,” with eyes on ESPN and Disney-branded services. BAMTech’s influence went far and beyond just MLB, notably powering the NHL along with minority shareholding in HBO.

Last week, Disney announced that Iger will return as CEO following a brief departure, indicating Bob Chapek’s last big move there. Upon his return, Disney said that Iger will “initiate organizational and operating changes within the Company to address the Board’s goals” in the coming months.

The move comes the same week that Disney+ is set to launch its ad-supported tier. Disney+ brought in 12 million new subscribers recently according to Q3 2022 reports, while it boasts 164.2 million subscribers globally.

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BAMTech History

As Boardroom’s Russell Steinberg explained, BAMTech origins trace back to 2000 when the league wanted a digital hub to sell tickets. The result turned into MLB Advanced Media, which developed in-house streaming video technology for baseball highlights and later, full games to the internet.

Way ahead of its time, the MLB streamed its first baseball game during the 2002 season — a full three years before YouTube was founded. The BAM revolution, which began under former commissioner Bud Selig, was meant to bring digital properties from all 30 clubs under one umbrella.

Over 21 years of mergers, partnerships, and offshoots, MLB Advanced Media used its industry-leading infrastructure to extend beyond baseball and into hockey, golf, wrestling, regional sports networks, and even premium TV. A year after rebranding into BAMTech in 2015, Disney got involved by buying 33% stake for $1 billion before investing an additional $1.58 billion for 42% more stake in 2017. Four years later, Disney got up to 85% after it acquired 10% from the NHL for $350 million.

Now, after acquiring the final 15%, MLB’s BAMTech rights are fully in Disney’s hands.

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About The Author
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio
Anthony Puccio is a Staff Writer at Boardroom. Puccio has 10 years of experience in journalism and content creation, previously working for SB Nation, The Associated Press, New York Daily News, SNY, and Front Office Sports. In 2016, he received New York University's CCTOP scholarship and earned a bachelor's degree in Communications from St. John's University. He can be spotted a mile away thanks to his plaid suits and thick New York accent. Don't believe us? Check his Twitter @APooch.