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Roku at the Bat

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Much of the focus of this MLB deal is on rights—the fact that Roku will carry the games exclusively on The Roku Channel. Photo: Elsa/Getty Images
John Ourand
May 13, 2024

Rather fittingly, Roku Media president Charlie Collier ended his NewFronts presentation a couple of weeks ago by introducing Dan Lovinger, NBC’s president of Olympic and Paralympic sales. Lovinger yammered onstage about how Roku created awareness for Peacock’s exclusive NFL wild card playoff game, and his excitement about their partnership at both this year’s Summer Olympics, in Paris, and the 2026 Winter Games in Milan. It was all part of a broader theme coalescing around the company: Roku, which is in 82 million homes, is becoming a bona fide low-key player in sports. This afternoon, the company announced perhaps its most significant sports deal so far: It’s agreed to carry Major League Baseball’s package of Sunday morning games. 

Roku, in many ways, occupies a unique role in the sports media ecosystem. The streaming service is not set up to compete with the likes of broadcast networks, or even streamers like Amazon or Netflix. Rather, as the media business continues to unbundle and become more fragmented, Collier is pitching Roku as a place where content companies can find scale again.