In what only can be described as win for the new gTLD program, Major League Baseball (MLB) has won the rights to operate the new domain name extension .Baseball.
Donuts was the only other applicant.
.Baseball was scheduled to go to a ICANN Last Resort Auction next week.
Here is what MLB plans for the new gTLD .Baseball according to its application with ICANN:
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.
MLBAM DH currently envisions a three-stage rollout for the .BASEBALL gTLD:
The initial stage of implementation of the gTLD will involve MLBAM DH registering a limited number of .BASEBALL 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 .BASEBALL 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. It is in Stage 2 that MLBAM DH will evaluate expanding the operations of the gTLD to permit registration by other third-party registrants. Should this assessment lead to a decision to extend registration rights, this expansion is currently planned to take place during Stage 3.
3. Stage 3
In Stage 3, MLBAM DH will evaluate a potential expansion of the registration and use of the .BASEBALL domain names by third parties with a separate, qualifying commercial or charitable agreement with an MLB Entity, such as, but not limited, to media rights holders, licensees, sponsors, strategic partners, sanctioned charities (“Qualified Entities”).
Additionally, MLBAM DH will also evaluate whether to allow registration by third parties that have established themselves as a legitimate baseball entity (“Qualified Third Parties”).
It is the current intention that MLBAM DH would require any class of future potential registrants to be in compliance with and legally bound by qualifying criteria. Any decision to expand the gTLD, would likely be predicated by a MLBAM DH analysis of the market for new gTLD registrations and consumer adoption of these new Internet addresses.
MLBAM DH anticipates implementing a throttle mechanism to ensure that any future expansion is controlled and responsible. This proposed “time-out” mechanism is described in greater detail in the responses Questions 45 through 50 of this application. 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 .BASEBALL gTLD.
The .BASEBALL gTLD will help protect MLB’s online presence and identity. By serving as a trusted source identifier that will provide a new, secure channel for the distribution of MLB-related goods, services, and content, the .BASEBALL gTLD will benefit baseball fans, and Internet users in general.
It will help them to navigate to MLBAM’s official and trusted online sites and services, and away from unauthorized, rogue online sites and services that falsely and intentionally portray themselves as sanctioned by MLB. At such rogue online sites and services, Internet users are vulnerable to illegal and harmful activities including, but not limited to, credit card and identity theft, distribution of malware, phishing, cybersquatting, counterfeiting, and content piracy.
In addition, the .BASEBALL gTLD can potentially establish a trusted online hub for baseball fans, organizations, and Internet users around the world seeking information, online content, goods, and services related to baseball.
In addition, when MLBAM DH allocates domain names for use by MLBAM, on its own behalf, and on behalf of the MLB Entities, and potentially for use by Qualified Entities and Qualified Third Parties, each will benefit from short, memorable, intuitive, and trusted Internet addresses and increased ability to present MLB or baseball-related information, content, goods, and services to baseball fans, and Internet users in general, while minimizing the cost and need for defensive registrations because domain names within the .BASEBALL gTLD will only be allocated by MLBAM DH to its parent company, MLBAM, to the MLB Entities, and potentially to Qualified Entities and Qualified Third Parties.
The .BASEBALL gTLD is intended to be exclusively used by MLBAM for itself and potentially the MLB Entities, Qualified Entities, and Qualified Third Parties. Because of these conditions precedent, any registration and use requirements are more appropriately vested in corporate⁄affiliate, commercial, or membership agreements, and not in a domain name registration agreement.
After careful analysis of a targeted rollout using the new .BASEBALL domains, MLBAM DH may plan to engage in a broader, strategic initiative, should the results be positive.
The actual usage of .BASEBALL domain names will dictate what public communications and consumer outreach may be done to encourage navigation to the .BASEBALL gTLD. This is not limited to, but may include advertising, media outreach, in-ballpark communications, and email campaigns.””