Major League Baseball Advanced Media, the digital arm of MLB, is dropping Microsoft’s Silverlight after a year, for a return to Adobe (NSDQ: ADBE) Flash beginning in 2009. MLBAM gave Silverlight a boost when it switched from Adobe Flash in 2007 as part of the media player’s launch. But MLBAM’s Bob Bowman says the Adobe Flash Platform better matches its needs. During an interview after the announcement, he held off on any comments about Silverlight, saying only “our experience with Silverlight has led us to where we are.” Instead, he described why a two-year deal with Adobe makes sense now: “We did it because we serve up more live video than anybody.” Bowman said MLBAM needs something flexible and reliable. “Turn it on and it works.” It needs to be scalable to support hundreds of thousands of simultaneous viewers and it needs to provide “more than just video.” Asked if there was an economic advantage to opting for Adobe, Bowman said no.
The deal includes all of MLBAM’s live and on-demand video offerings beginning in 2009 and an MLB-developed app using Adobe
AIR to make features available outside the browser. The release spells out “statistics and highlights” outside the browser so it doesn’t sound like full games are going to be delivered that way.
Silverlight was used in the most high-profile sports event earlier this year, the NBC’s Olympics streaming site, and some analysts opined that it was the reason NBC’s online streaming audiences were not higher.