It may be one of America’s most historical games, but baseball is keeping up with the times. Or at least, it’s trying to. This year, it’s getting a little bit easier to watch your favorite MLB teams go up to bat online instead of in front of your television screen. So grab your Cracker Jacks and your team hat — and sit down in front of your computer.
While Major League Baseball has actually made some games available on the web for the last 14 years, it maintained a blackout on all local team games. And given how broadly “local” was defined, this often meant that you couldn’t actually watch baseball online. For example, if you lived in Las Vegas, you wouldn’t be able to watch any games involving any California teams or the Arizona Diamondbacks. And given that fandom is generally linked to proximity, the old way often blocked baseball lovers from watching the games they really cared about.
But all that is about to change (sort of). If you’re already a traditional cable or satellite TV subscriber, your Internet life is about to get a lot better. There are a number of options, the most comprehensive of which is probably the MLB’s premium service. For $110 (which works itself out to be $25 a month for the season), you’ll be able to watch just about everything and get a free subscription to At Bat Premium to boot. The MLB also promises “the best picture quality ever (60 frames per second) for supported devices” with this package. And at $20 less than last year’s price, it certainly feels like you’re getting a deal.
If there’s only one team in the league you really care about, you can pay $85 to watch each and every one of their games (and their games alone). But a word to the wise — neither of these options will allow you to watch your home team online. The blackout will lift about an hour and a half after the game ends.
To get around that major annoyance, you could consider subscribing to either Sony’s PlayStation Vue or Dish’s Sling TV. You’ll get a number of channels, which may include regional sports, but don’t bank on getting absolutely everything. If you’re a Mets fan, for example, neither one of these options contains SportsNet New York, which you’d need to watch the Mets play.
Another alternative comes in the form of MLB’s “Follow Your Team” feature, which is slated to launch later this year. As the AP reports, “This gets you games for local teams, free of blackouts — but you’re stuck with feeds from the opposing team’s market.” The price for this option? $120 for the season, and again, it might not be comprehensive.
Ultimately, as much as the MLB may want you to believe that it’s alright to not have a television and a cable subscription, it doesn’t seem to be true quite yet. But here’s hoping for more progress in seasons to come.