Disney Pays $900M for MLB’s Remaining Stake in Streaming Company BAMTech

Disney Pays $900M for MLB’s Remaining Stake in Streaming Company BAMTech

The Walt Disney Co. has officially acquired 100 percent of BAMTech, the streaming video technology company that it acquired majority ownership of in 2017 from Major League Baseball.

According to a footnote in the company’s annual report, which it filed Tuesday, Disney paid Major League Baseball $900 million for its 15 percent stake in the company, now known as “Disney Streaming,” earlier in November.

Disney and the sports league had the right to force a buyout of the stake based on its fair market value beginning earlier this year. Disney had bought the National Hockey League’s 10 percent stake in BAMTech for $350 million last year.

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BAMTech technology powers Disney+, Hulu and Disney’s other offerings, and has become a critical part of the company’s streaming infrastructure. The announcement of the BAMTech acquisition on the company’s August 2017 earnings call — coupled with the announcement of plans for ESPN and Disney-branded streaming services — was “the beginning of the reinvention of The Walt Disney Company,” then-CEO Bob Iger wrote in his memoir The Ride of a Lifetime.

BAMTech can trace its origins to 2000, when the league sought to create a digital hub for the league, and to help develop online ticket sales. The result was MLB Advanced Media, which in the ensuring years developed in-house streaming video technology to bring baseball highlights and full games to the internet. MLB Advanced Media streamed its first baseball game during the 2002 season, a full three years before YouTube was founded.

BAMTech would go on to power a variety of streaming services, including offerings from the NHL (a minority shareholder) and HBO.

The league spun off its streaming video division as BAMTech in 2015, with Disney acquiring a minority stake a year later. Disney would go on to acquire its majority stake in 2017, buying out its remaining partners at the NHL and MLB in 2021 and 2022, respectively.