MLB to Offer Single-Team MLB.TV Purchase Option for 2016

In recent years, MLB.TV has been something of an all-or-nothing service for baseball fans. Rather than offer single-game or single-team packages, Major League Baseball’s internet streaming service has instead allowed fans only to purchase a league-wide subscription giving them access to all 30 teams’ games.

While such an all-inclusive package is great for die-hard baseball fans, it may be viewed as a tad bit excessive for those who want to watch only their favorite team’s games. Fortunately for these fans, it appears that MLB is planning to offer additional MLB.TV purchase options in 2016.

Specifically, in a recent court-filing in the Garber v. Office of the Commissioner of Baseball lawsuit – in which the plaintiffs are challenging various MLB broadcasting practices under federal antitrust law – MLB’s lawyers have indicated that changes are in store for MLB.TV in the coming year. As the league’s attorneys explain on Page 9 of the document available here:

beginning next season MLB will make single-team, out-of-market streams available for purchase (alongside the out-of-market package) on MLB.TV.”

It’s not immediately clear if this means that fans will be able to purchase a season-long subscription giving them access to all of a single team’s games, or if MLB will instead be reintroducing a single-game purchase option for fans (MLB.TV allowed you to purchase single game plans when the service originally debuted more than a decade ago). However, considering that both the NBA and NHL have recently created season-long, single-team streaming packages for their fans, it would seem likely that MLB intends to do the same in 2016.

Of course, it remains to be seen just how much MLB plans to charge for a single-team streaming service. In the NHL’s case, a single-team package costs only about $25 less than the league-wide package. If MLB adopts a similar pricing model, then many fans may still decide to shell out a few more bucks to get access to all 30 MLB teams’ games.

And, as the statement by MLB’s attorneys note, this new option will be available only for out-of-market fans, so fans will still have to contend with MLB’s blackout restrictions before being able to enjoy any of MLB.TV’s new purchase options.

But still, for those who wish only to watch a single out-of-market team’s games, and who have desired a cheaper MLB.TV streaming option, it appears that you’ll be in luck in 2016.




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Nathaniel Grow is an Associate Professor of Legal Studies at the University of Georgia's Terry College of Business. He is the author of Baseball on Trial: The Origin of Baseball's Antitrust Exemption, as well as a number of sports-related law review articles. You can follow him on Twitter @NathanielGrow. The views expressed are solely those of the author and do not express the views or opinions of the University of Georgia.


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18 Comments on "MLB to Offer Single-Team MLB.TV Purchase Option for 2016"


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zachbuccos
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zachbuccos
4 months 29 days ago

Great. Now can we please figure out why the hell the Pirates aren’t considered out-of-market in Columbus, Ohio?

TKDC
Member
Member
TKDC
4 months 29 days ago

This is great for people who already have cable and therefore have access to ESPN, TBS, MLB Network, etc. I have zero need for just more baseball games. I just want my team. I’ve probably watched an average of 3-5 other games on MLB.tv over the last several years, per year. I can do without those.

I will say this is another example of how ridiculous sports media consumption still is that I get excited over something that should have clearly already existed as a sign of progress.

mike sixel
Member
mike sixel
4 months 29 days ago

Wake me up when I can stream radio …. it is free over the air, but I can’t listen on my phone w/o paying, even if I am in market? Ugh.

Wake me up when I can watch my favorite team w/o having cable.

Until then, I just “watch” on Gamecast……

I get it, they make money off of people that will have cable. But they also just lose money from people like me.

deke0791
Member
deke0791
4 months 28 days ago

See my post below Mike, there is a way to watch your favorite team without cable, but it involves some messing about.

mgeoffriau
Member
mgeoffriau
4 months 29 days ago

Great article. Reminded me that I need to go cancel the auto-renewal for MLB.tv.

Famous Mortimer
Member
Member
4 months 28 days ago

Me too, just deleted all my payment options. I think I’ve maybe seen two non-Cardinals games on MLB.tv in 5 years (Royals World Series win, that mental Blue Jays game from last year with all the fights) so if this is cheaper, I’ll probably get it.

Phillies113
Member
Member
4 months 29 days ago

“You’ll be able to stream a single team’s games!”

:^D

“Out of market only, of course!”

:^|

Blurgle
Member
Blurgle
4 months 29 days ago

And what counts as “in market” for the Blue Jays? All of Canada.

Because clearly a fan in Calgary or Halifax will watch the game instead of buying a ticket if they’re allowed online access.

theaub
Member
theaub
4 months 28 days ago

You can watch the Jays on MLB TV inside the Rogers Centre – they aren’t blacked out anywhere in Canada.

Slavin33
Member
Slavin33
4 months 29 days ago

Can someone explain exactly what this “single-team out-of market” package would entail? I am a Braves fan in the New York market, and my girlfriend is a Yankees fan who might not have access to YES this year… If anyone can explain how this new option could help either of us, it would be greatly appreciated.

ChadT
Member
ChadT
4 months 29 days ago

Not 100% sure, but I imagine you’ll be able to buy the Braves games, since you’re out of market. Your girlfriend wouldn’t be able to buy the Yankees games though.

deke0791
Member
deke0791
4 months 28 days ago

You can however get a router and run all your TV devices through a VPN (see hidemyass.com). The best router is an ASUS router because you can install the VPN directly on there. Basically that means anything connected to that network will fake your location as say Kansas and you’ll be able to watch any In Market Game. There’s some subtle things to do but if you’re a die hard fan without cable, you can use HMA and Asus Router and Mlb.tv to watch any game. I did it all of last year. FYI – It’s NOT really easy (not really hard though) you really have to want to do it and you figure it out.

deke0791
Member
deke0791
4 months 28 days ago

Oh yeah to someone else’s point. With a VPN the best location to use is Canada. No blackouts so if your team suddenly travels there, you don’t get locked out and just switching “locations” during a game will get you locked out.

But remember when you connect through a VPN it slows your speed down.
If anyone wants more information on how to do this, let me know.

Jeremy B.
Member
4 months 28 days ago

Can someone tell me about MLB.TV’s DVR functionality? I watch baseball exclusively on DVR so that I can fast-forward between pitches and through all of the dead air. I’m guessing that MLB.TV’s interface isn’t as sensitive as your typical cable DVR, but I’m wondering if others have experience with it. Also, can you start watching a game from the beginning before it has ended (e.g., start in the first inning while the actual game is in the fifth), or do you have to wait until it ends and the system has archived it?

I recognize that I’m in the minority in terms of how I watch baseball, but I can’t justify spending three-plus hours every night to watch a sporting event that I can otherwise watch in an hour and change.

Famous Mortimer
Member
Member
4 months 28 days ago

It depends on what platform you watch it on – I had it on an LG blu-ray player, and the FF/rewind functions were pretty good on that (it was “skip 10 seconds”, I think); but on my home PC, where I do most of my watching, it’s pretty weak. I actually got a refund from them one year due to the number of times it crashed.

deke0791
Member
deke0791
4 months 28 days ago

The app I use is REALLY good. I have both a Roku and Apple TV and both of them allow me to press the remote (two times I think) and skip to the beginning of the next inning. So at the end of an inning, click, click and I’m at the beginning of the next one. Now some caveats:
1. MLB put little markers in to do this and if you start watching the game, the markers may not be there. For example say I start watching a game 30 mins in, once I get to 30 mins the markers aren’t there (they don’t refresh) so you have to start the game again (in effect refresh it) and the next most recent markers will be there.
2. If you’re watching a game that is already finished, the markers will be there for the entire game so no worries about that.
Sometimes watching it this way, I’ve found (particularly on Apple TV rather than Roku) that it will randomly skip to LIVE rather than the next inning. Kinda annoying because you see the live score.

Overall though, I only watch MLB on Roku or Apple, I have no need for a DVR or even cable for that matter.

Ari
Member
Ari
4 months 27 days ago

You can freely fast forward and rewind on the AppleTV app. What you cannot do is actually *see* the game sped up while fast forwarding. So, you won’t know when the next pitch is. This is on third gen AppleTV. Not sure how the 4th gen will work, but a whole new MLB.tv experience was one of the selling points of that box so it might be completely different.

On computer you can fast forward and rewind, and skip to the tops and bottoms of innings via a clickable line score. But ACT FAST after the last out, because if you wait until the commercials actually start playing, then you can’t skip them.

On iOS devices, rewind and fast forward during a live game are nonexistent. They work ok on archived games.

samuist
Member
samuist
4 months 27 days ago

I live in Russia. Can I purchase single-team option or this will not available outside US and Canada?

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