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Red Sox president on Apple TV+ and Peacock streaming baseball games: The ‘consumer will win’

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Boston Red Sox President Sam Kennedy joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the MLB's streaming partnership with Apple TV+.

Video Transcript

[MUSIC PLAYING] AKIKO FUJITA: Welcome back to Yahoo! Finance Live. We are exactly a week out from baseball's Opening Day and a lot of fans relieved after a prolonged lockout threatened to derail the start of the season. The game this season taking a little bit of a different look with Apple TV+ and Peacock streaming some of those games exclusively. I spoke to Boston Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy ahead of Opening Day and asked him whether he thinks the new streaming sites will help expand baseball's reach. Take a listen. SAM KENNEDY: But what's important is that we are aware fans want them to be-- us to be on their mobile device, on their laptop, on their iPad, on their 80 inch television screen at a bar or wherever, so we need to be everywhere. So commissioner's office is expanding our offering, not just with the traditional cable and over-the-air television partners, but we're now going and partnering with digital providers. And I'm all for it. At the end of the day, the consumer will win, and they will tell us where we need to be, when we need to be there-- and we need to break down this friction. And people need to be able to watch Red Sox games wherever, whenever, however they want to do it. AKIKO FUJITA: Brian, by the way, Major League Baseball last year-- their attendance hit a 37-year low. And that's part of this discussion about what the game needs to do to sort of update and actually appeal to a newer fan base. The streaming services-- that topic though-- kind of polarizing. A lot of people saying that, look that shuts out some people who are not necessarily paying into these subscription services-- and, you know, whether in fact they'll be able to watch the games. BRIAN CHEUNG: Yeah and it might be polarizing to the most loyal base that they've had, which is the kind of multidecade viewer that is still very much passionate about America's pastime. We have some social media reactions to some of the news that Apple TV would be carrying some of these games. In particular, on Reddit-- someone saying, "imagine explaining to grandpa what Apple TV+ is." I mean, the amount of millennials and Gen Zers that are gonna have to help their parents remember what their Apple ID password is, is going to be a disaster. But I think it does bring up the point-- AKIKO FUJITA: Just save it. BRIAN CHEUNG: --well, look you can write them down somewhere. I don't trust that keychain thing. Either way is-- if-- I don't have Apple TV but if I did I'm positive I would lock myself out. Either way, is it really worth it to not have these games on cable? I mean, the other, I guess, side of things is some of these games are, what, at like 1:00 PM on the weekdays anyway. So if it's a more obscure game, I guess, who cares what streaming platform it's on. AKIKO FUJITA: I mean, we're talking about the Friday night games. Although, it's the Sunday games, at least for Peacock. You know, but it's interesting-- you talk about this generational divide that we're seeing. I mean, baseball is really trying to change the game, much like we've seen with the NBA for example, to try and appeal to this larger fan base. And interesting comments coming from Sam Kennedy in that interview who said he thinks the game just needs to pick up the pace, and he is all for changes that will lead to that. We're talking about what 3 and 1/2 hours, 4 hours for an average baseball game. I'm willing to sit through it, but not a lot of fans-- who are. BRIAN CHEUNG: You will sit through nine full innings of people-- AKIKO FUJITA: Nine-- if it went to 11 innings, yeah. I would stick around. That's the fun of baseball. BRIAN CHEUNG: I think baseball is just a conduit for sitting outside and having a beer and a hot dog. That's-- that's the value. AKIKO FUJITA: You're right about that. There is no other game-- I would say professional sports-- where the experience in person is so different than the experience of watching from home, and that's part of the challenge for baseball. Yeah, it's great if you're watching 11 innings, sometimes 12, at the actual ballpark, but not if you're sitting at home. The game does go a little slower. By the way, Brian, worth noting that we had that conversation with Sam Kennedy because yesterday they announced with climate finance company Aspiration that they are, in fact, going to be the first Major League Baseball ballpark to become carbon neutral. And obviously, a wide-ranging conversation there. That's going to be on our site. Pretty interesting to hear some of those comments. BRIAN CHEUNG: Green Monster. I mean, I feel like that makes sense because it's such an old stadium. They probably don't even have any new technology plugged in there. They're probably not using too much electricity. I don't know. AKIKO FUJITA: Well, he did say that because it's-- I checked this-- 110 years old, some of those renovations are more challenging. So if they're trying to do carbon offsets, they've got to take a different route. But-- yes, this kind of sets up the headline, Bryan, Green Monster Gets Greener. BRIAN CHEUNG: I like that. I like that. You're not doing PR though, to be clear, for the Boston Red Sox. You are-- for the record, Akiko not at all a Red Sox fan. Neither am I. Support the Yankees here even though I don't really watch.