Rogers Adds Baseball TV Rights to Hockey With MLB Deal

Rogers Communications Inc., Canada’s largest wireless carrier and owner of the country’s only Major League Baseball team, said mobile and online streaming rights were central to an eight-year agreement it signed to carry the league’s games in Canada.

“All the deals we look at doing now take into account our aspirations around TV anywhere and being a source of entertainment across all platforms,” said David Purdy, Rogers’ senior vice president for content, in a phone interview yesterday from Toronto. The company owns the Toronto Blue Jays.

The agreement, which includes 300 games and rights to offer the 24-hour MLB Network to its cable customers, was a “multi-, multimillion-dollar deal,” Purdy said. He declined to reveal the exact cost, an extension of a previous contract.

The deal comes almost two months after Rogers paid C$5.2 billion ($4.8 billion) to snap up exclusive rights to National Hockey League games in the country.

Rogers and its main competitor, BCE Inc., are vying to buy TV programming and repackage it for online and mobile sale. Both the hockey and baseball deals include rights to these non-traditional distribution tools, opening the possibility that Rogers will be able to offer its customers exclusive access to sports on mobile devices and through streaming services.