Roku Snags Major League Baseball Rights, Sets Slate Of Free Games To Stream In Early Sunday Window

Roku has sealed a multi-year deal for rights to Major League Baseball, setting a slate of 18 games to stream live and for free every Sunday.

Billed as Sunday Leadoff, the early-window games appeared last season on Peacock. The shift to Roku marks a milestone in the ongoing migration of sports to streaming, with Roku being the first non-subscription outlet to carry live games from a major sport. Already, MLB has shown a considerable appetite for streaming, setting a season-long deals with Amazon and Apple TV+. Amazon is also a stakeholder in the YES network, whose lead partner is the New York Yankees.

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The first Roku telecast will be this Sunday, May 19, on The Roku Channel. Under the deal, the companies will also create MLB Zone, which will help viewers in Roku’s nearly 82 million households find MLB content, including games. Most of the telecasts will be the first MLB game of the day, streaming exclusively.

Paying subscribers to MLB.TV can also watch all 18 games without concern about blackouts from anywhere in the world.

“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,” said Charlie Collier, President, Roku Media. “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 game telecasts will be produced in collaboration with Major League Baseball, with broadcast teams each week market-focused.

“With free games available to anyone, MLB games on Roku will be widely accessible to fans,” said Noah Garden, MLB Deputy Commissioner, 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.”

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