Streaming Sports for Canadians

There are many items that are unique in Canada, including the Toronto Blue Jays: the only Major League Baseball (MLB) team in the entire country. The team’s unique status has resulted in an unusual and perhaps unintended consequence. MLB treats all of Canada as the home market for Blue Jay games, and thus blacks out online coverage of home games throughout the whole country. That’s like not letting Seattle residents watch a Chicago Cubs home game. (I will resist the temptation to ask why anyone would want to watch a Cubs home game, and stay above taking such an easy, cheap shot.)

That has now changed. The Canadian giant telecommunications company, Rogers, has announced that their customers will now be able to stream Blue Jays games on their computers and cell phones through its Rogers on Demand service. The company’s press release states that this is free to customers, except mobile users who will pay $5 a month for the service (which also includes television, news, and music content).

The company is making a commitment to sports content for its customers. Rogers is also going to provide streaming coverage of the 2011 Rogers Cup professional tennis tournament.

These new streaming options in the Land of the Maple Leaf provide additional datapoints pointing towards the changes in video content distribution. The Internet is going to continue to play a growing role, and we have not yet seen the end of new developments that are likely to have major impact on the traditional broadcast, cable, and satellite distribution systems.