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Major League Baseball pulls podcasts from iTunes

The Internet arm of Major League Baseball has pulled podcast clips of its games from Apple Computer Inc.'s iTunes Store, in a move to exercise greater control over how its games are presented online, reports the Wall Street Journal.

"Although the loss of the league's podcasts —which included primarily audio recaps of games —is unlikely to have a financial impact on Apple, it shows the unease some providers of digital content have with Apple's growing clout in digital media," wrote the Journal's Nick Wingfield.

"Major League Baseball was one of iTunes' high-profile providers of free podcasts, which are downloadable audio and video programs that work on portable music players such as the iPod."

According to the report (paid subscription required), the league asked Apple to remove all promotions from iTunes for its podcasts last week. The move was reportedly prompted, in part, by the lack of control the league had over how its podcasts were promoted with iTunes.

Bob Bowman, chief executive of Major League Baseball Advance Media, told the Journal that Apple declined to give its podcasts better visibility on the site when the league asked for it. It's reported that Apple does not accept monetary offers for improved placement.

Bowman also said Apple wouldn't give the league a say in where promotions for its podcasts would appear on iTunes, leading to situations in which the league's content was adjacent to podcasts by individual baseball fans.

Apple spokesman Steve Dowling declined to comment on the report.