By Paul Feinberg
“The baseball business has never been stronger,” said Stan Kasten, president and CEO of the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We bought the team for $2 billion five years ago and everyone perceived it was too much. But we spent so much because it was worth so much more.” Kasten’s proclamation came during his keynote conversation with UCLA Anderson Professor Sanjay Sood at the 2017 Pulse Entertainment, Sports & Technology Conference held in Korn Convocation Hall.
The discussion covered a range of topics, from baseball’s business practices and innovations to the Dodgers’ prospects for the upcoming season. The former largely revolves around the quality and quantity of content the sport has to offer.
“We have more live attendees than other major sports put together,” Kasten said. “That made our digital business better because we have so much more content.” He noted that the Major League Baseball’s “At Bat” app allows fans to access games, news and highlights via their smart phones and tablets wherever in the world they find themselves. Kasten also talked about baseball’s decision to unify its content. “We made the decision in 2,000 to merge all the digital intellectual property. Everything was tightly controlled to the benefit of everyone.” That effort, known as Major League Baseball Advanced Metric (MLBAM) led to the spinoff media company BAMTech. Disney invested $1 billion in BAMTech last summer; the media giant now owns 33 percent of BAMTech with an option to become a majority stakeholder.