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Status: Proposed
Registry Provider: Neustar
Type: Brand TLD
Priority #: 1580 - MLB Advanced Media DH, LLC

More information: NTLDStatsLogo.png

.mlb is a Brand TLD being proposed in ICANN's New gTLD Program. The applicant is MLB Advanced Media DH, LLC.[1]

Application Details

The following is excerpted from the applicant's response to question #18:

"Major League Baseball (“MLB”) is the oldest professional sports league in the United States and consists of 30 member clubs in the United States and Canada (the “MLB Clubs”) representing the highest level of professional baseball. This application pertains to the use of Major League Baseball’s famous, distinctive and registered MLB trademark as the following gTLD: .MLB.

Applicant MLB Advanced Media DH, LLC (“MLBAM DH”) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MLB Advanced Media, L.P. (“MLBAM”). MLBAM, which is indirectly owned by the MLB Clubs, is the Internet and interactive media company of MLB. MLBAM is the exclusive Internet and interactive media licensee of the MLB Clubs, which are entities that comprise MLB, as well as other related entities including, but not limited to the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Major League Baseball Properties, Inc., Major League Baseball Enterprises, Inc. and Major League Baseball International (collectively, the “MLB Entities”).

Through MLBAM, MLB has developed a highly successful, diverse and innovative Internet and interactive media business. For over a decade, MLBAM has managed the Official Site of Major League Baseball (MLB.com), the official site of each MLB Club (e.g., the Official Site of the St. Louis Cardinals (cardinals.com)), and numerous additional sites related to MLB (e.g., the Official Site of the World Series (worldseries.com)), to create the most comprehensive and popular MLB resource on the Internet. Among the many features MLBAM offers via the Internet and interactive media are up-to-the-moment game statistics and summaries, extensive historical information, online ticket sales, baseball merchandise, authenticated memorabilia and collectibles, fantasy games, live and archived radio broadcasts of games, live and archived video webcasts of games, and pitch-by-pitch enactment of games. As an illustration of the popularity and success of MLB on the Internet, in 2011 alone, MLB.com-branded services received more than two billion visitors and distributed more than 15 billion minutes of multimedia.

Further, through MLBAM, MLB is a widely recognized innovator in the area of Internet content distribution. MLB.com’s first live game webcast occurred in 2002, an innovation to better serve MLB fans in the pioneering tradition of the first radio broadcast of a game in 1921 and the first television broadcast in 1939. Today, MLBAM’s MLB.TV live video subscription service is the most successful and comprehensive of its kind, distributing thousands of games each season to a global audience of MLB fans on personal computers and wireless devices.

To provide another example of MLB’s tradition of Internet innovation, in 2008, through MLBAM, MLB was among the first to launch an Apple iPhone app (MLB.com At Bat). The MLB.com At Bat apps for wireless devices have consistently been among the most popular and highest grossing of their kind. Through MLBAM, MLB’s history as an innovative, popular and trusted Internet content distributor and ecommerce provider is additional context for this application.

The missions and purposes of the .MLB gTLD are to: (1) serve as a trusted, hierarchical, and intuitive namespace for MLB fans and Internet users in general; (2) protect MLB’s online presence, identity, brand and intellectual property and related rights; and (3) potentially advance other objectives including the following: expanding MLB-related online advertising, marketing and promotional efforts; providing a new secure channel for the online sale and distribution of MLB-related information, content, products and services; and offering a platform through which to provide a single-source identifying function for MLB-related information, content, goods and services, bearing in mind that at the present time, MLBAM uses a number of MLB-related domain names that incorporate geographical identifiers.

MLBAM DH currently envisions a three-stage rollout for the .MLB gTLD:

1. Stage 1

The initial stage of implementation of the gTLD will involve MLBAM DH registering a limited number of .MLB second-level domain names. This initial use will provide MLBAM DH’s information technology and security personnel the opportunity to conduct tests to ensure seamless and secure access using the .MLB gTLD domain names.

2. Stage 2

Once all testing has been successfully completed, MLBAM DH will begin allocating domain names for use by MLBAM, on its own behalf, and on behalf of the MLB Entities. During this same period of time, MLBAM DH, in coordination with MLBAM, will begin evaluating strategies to potentially migrate traffic from existing MLB-related Internet and interactive media properties to the .MLB gTLD.

3. Stage 3

In Stage 3, MLBAM will evaluate a potential expansion of the registration and use of the .MLB domain names by third parties with a separate, qualifying commercial or charitable agreement with an MLB Entity. Such third parties may include, but are not limited to media rightsholders, licensees, sponsors, strategic partners, sanctioned charities (“Qualified Entities”). Such potential expansion would be subject to a proper feasibility analysis to ensure that there are no potential impacts on the security and stability of the .MLB gTLD.

The potential use of the .MLB gTLD by Qualified Entities or other business or charitable segments will be determined primarily by MLBAM’s future business strategies. Using current projections based upon MLBAMʹs existing businesses, future business plans, current domain name portfolio, and other strategic factors, MLBAM DH estimates that second-level domain name registrations will be consistent with the projections set forth in the financial template provided in the answer to Question 46 of this application."[2]