Roku Lands Exclusive MLB Sunday Leadoff Deal, Bringing Free Live Games to The Roku Channel

Roku Inc. has secured exclusive multi-year rights to air MLB Sunday Leadoff live games for free on The Roku Channel, starting May 19, 2024, featuring 18 games with live broadcasts, highlights, and 24/7 baseball content, making it the primary destination for Sunday MLB games. This partnership marks a significant shift in sports streaming, positioning Roku as a major player in the industry and providing widespread access to MLB games for fans across the United States. This description focuses on the primary topic of Roku's deal with MLB, the main entities involved (Roku and MLB), the context of sports streaming, and the significant actions and implications of the partnership. The details provided will guide the AI in creating an accurate visual representation of the article's content, such as an image featuring the Roku logo, MLB branding, and a baseball stadium or players in action.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Roku Lands Exclusive MLB Sunday Leadoff Deal, Bringing Free Live Games to The Roku Channel

Roku Lands Exclusive MLB Sunday Leadoff Deal, Bringing Free Live Games to The Roku Channel

Roku Inc. has scored a major win in the world of sports streaming, securing the exclusive multi-year rights to air MLB Sunday Leadoff live games for free on The Roku Channel. The deal, which begins on May 19, 2024, positions Roku as the home for most Sunday games during the MLB season.

Under the agreement, The Roku Channel will feature live Sunday MLB games, a new MLB Zone with highlights and recaps, and an MLB FAST channel providing 24/7 baseball content. Roku's platform will offer free access to the games, making them widely accessible to fans. "With free games available to anyone, MLB games on Roku will be widely accessible to fans," said Noah Garden, MLB's deputy commissioner of business and media. "Since Roku serves as an entertainment gateway for millions, this partnership offers a valuable new promotional and distribution platform for MLB games and content."

The MLB Sunday Leadoff series kicks off on May 19 with an exciting matchup between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox. Roku will air 18 MLB Sunday Leadoff games in total, with the same airtime exclusivity window as the home for the first games of the day. Paying subscribers of MLB.TV can watch all 18 matchups blackout-free from anywhere in the world.

The inaugural broadcast team will consist of Chip Caray handling play-by-play duties, Will Middlebrooks providing analysis, and Alexa Datt serving as the reporter. Game telecasts will be jointly produced in collaboration with MLB. The Roku Channel is widely available to stream for free, with no subscription or sign-up required, reaching an estimated 120 million people in U.S. households as of Q4 2023.

Charlie Collier, president of Roku Media, emphasized the significance of the deal, stating, "As television programming, live sports and the leagues have fragmented across networks, apps and multiple packages, Roku—home to all of them—plays an increasingly crucial role for viewers and advertisers." Collier added, "With this deal, Roku delivers free, live, weekly Sunday baseball and 24/7 baseball curation, destinations, and channels across our platform. The lead-in to all of television is now the lead-off for Sunday baseball as well. It's a terrific partnership."

The partnership marks a shift from NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service, which previously held the rights to the Sunday Leadoff package. NBC and MLB were reportedly far apart on an asking price for a new multi-year deal, with NBC hoping to pay $10 million and MLB seeking $30 million. The terms of Roku's agreement with MLB were not disclosed.

The deal with Roku highlights the company's growing importance as a platform for viewers and advertisers, with its ability to provide access to a wide range of content, including live sports. By offering free streaming of MLB games, Roku aims to increase its reach and appeal to baseball fans across the United States. The Los Angeles Dodgers are set to make their first appearance on MLB Sunday Leadoff on September 1, when they take on the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Key Takeaways

  • Roku secures exclusive multi-year rights to air MLB Sunday Leadoff live games for free on The Roku Channel.
  • The deal starts on May 19, 2024, with 18 games airing exclusively on Roku.
  • Games will be available for free, with no subscription or sign-up required, reaching 120 million people in U.S. households.
  • Roku's platform will offer live Sunday MLB games, MLB Zone, and an MLB FAST channel with 24/7 baseball content.
  • The partnership marks a shift from NBCUniversal's Peacock streaming service, which previously held the Sunday Leadoff package rights.