Perry Hill has been a coach in Major League Baseball for 24 years and in professional baseball for 33 years. The current Seattle Mariners first base/infield coach remembers developing his philosophy throwing a ball against a wall and “figuring things out.”
As technology has advanced over the years, so has the game of baseball. Rather than driving hours to attend a clinic or learning by trial and error in the driveway or back yard, now coaches and players can bring up instructional videos in an instant on their phones or computers.
Launched on April 1, Stick & Ball TV is the only over-the-top (OTT) streaming service dedicated to instructional baseball content. The service—$9.99 per month or $119.88 per year—features live and on-demand options for instructional video and original content.
“I would have loved to have had that,” Hill said. “This seems like a lot easier to me. You get various theories and techniques you can pick and choose from while shaping your own philosophy. Like they say, there is more than one way to skin a cat.”GETTY
Created by Jeremy Harrell, Stick & Ball TV has enlisted the expertise of coaches and players including Hill and Brian Green (New Mexico State University) as well as partners including the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA), Old Hickory Bat Co. and Rapsodo, which will provide featured brand content.
Harrell said each coach—he estimates having between 12-15 on board for the first year—will have his own dedicated channel which specializes in a certain aspect of the game. Content on the service will be archived by topic, collection or a specific coach/player.
“It’s been fascinating when we sat down and created a list of these top coaches and companies that are carving out their own niches or rose to the top of their game that they want to partner with us and see the value in having this relationship where their content is on our platform,” Harrell said. “We all want the same things: to make a positive impact on the game of baseball.”
Not only will Stick & Ball TV have instructional videos and tutorials, Harrell said the service will feature lifestyle content to give subscribers a more intimate look at its affiliated players whether it’s their social outreach, passions outside of the game and more.
While Harrell is pleased with the reception so far—he says users are already looking for more content—Stick & Ball TV’s biggest obstacle at this point is brand awareness. The service is taking to social media for promotion as well as more traditional methods including exhibiting at the 2020 ABCA Convention in Nashville next January; the 2019 ABCA Convention in Dallas had more than 6,600 coaches in attendance.
“I think we’re onto something,” Harrell said. “Now our job is how do we reach the masses? There’s no secret formula to any subscription business. We have to be very agile and cognizant of what’s going on in the industry and market.”