Spring training is about to begin in Florida and Arizona, and baseball fans can easily stream audio or video games for their favorite teams online. According to an article in the New York Times, last year half a million baseball fans paid $120 for an online video subscription, and another 350,000 people paid for a subscription which allowed them to listen to streamed games online. This year, MLB will also offer a mobile subscription allowing iPhone and Blackberry users to listen to games on those devices. That mobility, along with the increased awareness of streaming audio recently, should lift that number of subscribers significantly.
Streamed audio sports content is very popular. With an online AQH of nearly 10,000, ESPNRadio has the largest audience for a single channel on the AndoMedia Webcast Ranker. That audience is larger than the audience of some other broadcasters’ AQH of all their stations. ESPNRadio’s online platform is deep and sophisticated, offering lots of live and downloadable audio and video. According to the site SportsMediaNews, ESPN’s Digital Audio assets saw record growth in 2008, with over 100 million hours of streaming radio and podcast content consumed. Their streaming audio number grew 7% while their podcast number was up 66%.
MLB.com and ESPN have created great digital audio platforms that deliver content to their audience any way they want it. Both sites offer excellent lessons in digital audio (and video) content distribution.