Robot fans at a Lamigo Monkeys game

Monetization Gone Wrong

We all want to make money, we live in a world where we need to make money. Most people who write about baseball want to monetize their efforts in some way. That doesn’t mean they are greedy or trying to bilk people out of their hard-earned cash. In the past, I’ve been fond of telling others that I write because I love to write. That is true, but at the same time, I would be lying to you if I said I didn’t want to see this site take off and make me some money. Unfortunately, we live in a capitalist society and that drives us to want to monetize what we produce to ensure we make ends meet.

Eleven Sports Taiwan isn’t you or me, but, they are a company that exists in a capitalist world and that means they want to make money off of their product. This is an understandable stance, especially knowing that a lot of work goes into Eleven Sport Taiwan’s ability to provide English language broadcasts of Chinese Professional Baseball League games to baseball starved fans in English speaking countries.

When it comes to monetizing the product you provide you have to know when or when not to strike. I’m no expert at this by any means, but even I know that right now is not the time for Eleven Sports Taiwan to try and monetize their CPBL broadcasts. Yet, reports have surfaced that show Eleven Sports Taiwan removing their English language broadcasts from Twitter, where they are free, and moving them to Live Now. 

For those unaware, including myself before this article, Live Now is an Italian company that offers live streams of events, sporting or otherwise. Their service is a pay-per-view service. You spend a certain amount to watch the event and you get to watch the event. The report circulating about Eleven Sports Taiwan using this service has them offering games at $2.95 a pop. That may not seem like much until you realize that the CPBL season is 120 games long, plus the playoffs, and a fan could be looking at spending $350+ to watch an entire season of either the Rakuten Monkeys or Uni-President 7-Eleven Lions (they are the only two teams linked with Eleven Sports Taiwan). 

That’s a steep price to ask fans to pay, it’s also a great way for Eleven Sports Taiwan to kill off interest in the CPBL product. The CPBL has garnered itself so many new fans thanks to the English language streams offered via Twitter. Eleven Sports Taiwan was at the forefront of making that happen and as stated above I understand why they would want to make money off of their smart idea.

The timing just isn’t right as I am certain Eleven Sports Taiwan will soon learn. The Korea Baseball Organization’s season is about to start and fans are very excited about that. Anecdotally I know that most people I have spoken with say that they are enjoying the CPBL because the games are being offered in English for free. The league is bound to lose some viewership thanks to the KBO. If you add in people dropping out once they are expected to pay to watch individual games through a service that doesn’t even have a mobile app it’s more than likely that non-Taiwanese interest in the CPBL will crater. 

There’s no easy solution for Eleven Sports Taiwan in this situation. They are offering a quality product and they want to make money off of their offering. If they wait too long they may never make money, but if they go the pay-per-view route they will undoubtedly lose money as they lose viewers. One thing is for certain, in this scenario the Monkeys, Uni-Lions, CPBL as a whole, and new CPBL fans will wind up the real losers.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Unknown

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), husband, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Internet Baseball Writers Association of America and Off the Bench Baseball; freelance writer at various online and print publications. Member Internet Baseball Writers Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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