Major League Baseball (MLB) and MSN parted ways this weekend, killing a multimillion-dollar contract. MSN isn't the first online service to find its MLB relationship falling short. RealNetworks dissolved a similar relationship with the sports league in 2003 after the deal fell short of expectations.
  
According to a report in "The Seattle Times," MSN believed that it wasn't getting its money's worth out of the MLB contract. "We decided we would all be better served to just part friends," a Microsoft spokesperson said, noting that the decision came after a "gut check." Neither side was happy with the way things were going, the spokesperson said.
  
Microsoft signed its high-profile MLB deal, which gave MSN Premium subscribers online video broadcasts of baseball games, in March 2004. MSN also showed free baseball clips on MSN.com and had plans to distribute games and clips to Portable Media Center owners. MSN and MLB decided to go their separate ways in February 2005, however.
  
The split is embarrassing for MLB because its previous online relationship with RealNetworks also soured. RealNetworks saved $5 million by abandoning its deal with MLB and stated that less than 2 percent of its 2003 revenues were derived from the MLB agreement.