NEW YORK (AP)Major League Baseball hired a high-ranking executive from the Sinclair Broadcast Group as the sport deals with concern over the future of regional sports networks in an era of cord-cutting.
Billy Chambers will start with MLB on Feb. 1 in the newly created position of executive vice president for local media, the commissioner’s office said Thursday.
Kenny Gersh was promoted by MLB to executive vice president of media and business development from executive vice president of business development, a role he had held since September 2020.
”Billy is an important addition to Major League Baseball and will play an integral role in how we navigate the rapidly evolving local media landscape in the future,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. ”Billy’s extensive knowledge and experience in all areas of regional sports network operations will help us maximize the reach of our game in the clubs’ local markets.”
Chambers spent 20 years with Fox Sports Media Group, rising to chief financial officer.
Sinclair purchased 21 regional sports networks in 2019 from The Walt Disney Co., which had bought them from Twenty-First Century Fox. Chambers became chief financial officer and chief operations officer of Sinclair Broadcast Group. Sinclair’s subsidiary, Diamond Sports Group, owns what are now the Bally Sports Regional Sports Networks.
Chambers and Gersh will report to MLB chief revenue officer Noah Garden.
Gersh will become responsible for overseeing MLB’s national and international media rights, distribution, and production.
Regional sports networks have been a significant revenue source for major league teams, which control the broadcast rights to a vast majority of each season’s games. Cable subscribers have dropped in recent years, with many people switching to streaming services.
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