MLB Blackout Policy Under Attack In The Courts

It won’t be long before the e-mails start arriving in your inbox. “Don’t miss any of the action! Watch all* out-of-market regular season games on MLB.tv. Purchase the entire 2013 season now and save!” And there will be glossy pamphlets from your cable or satellite provider: “Act now to add MLB Extra Innings to your viewing package.  Watch every* out-of-market MLB game from the comfort of your home.”

The asterisks are necessary because neither MLB.tv nor MLB Extra Innings provides access to every out-of-market regular season game to every purchaser of their product. For one, the games broadcast exclusively on national TV — FOX’s Saturday Game of the Week and ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball — are excluded. Under the current MLB-FOX agreement, which will expire at the end of the 2013 season, only FOX may broadcast MLB games during a certain time period on Saturdays. That leaves many teams with the decision to either schedule Saturday games in the evening, outside the FOX window or have some Saturday home games not broadcast locally. And it leaves fans shut out from every game played on a Saturday afternoon, other than the one FOX broadcasts in their area.

There are other restrictions on the MLB Extra Innings and MLB.tv packages, particularly for fans who live in areas without an Major League Baseball team but within the broadcast territory of several teams. Iowa, for example, doesn’t have its own MLB team but is within the broadcast territory for the Cubs, Brewers, Royals, Twins, Cardinals, White Sox. That means fans in Iowa can’t watch those six teams on MLB.tv or Extra Innings because those games are considered “in-market” in Iowa. You can see the MLB broadcast territories on this map:

MLBBlackoutMap

Of course, without MLB.tv or MLB Extra Innings, fans don’t have access to any out-of-market games, other than those broadcast on FOX, ESPN and TBS. Taken together, the broadcast territories and the in-market and the out-of-market restrictions, are referred to as MLB’s Blackout Policy.

Last year, several baseball fans sued MLB, MLB Advanced Media, Comcast and several of its regional sports networks (RSNs), and DirecTV and several of its RSNs, claiming that the Blackout Policy violates federal antitrust law. The plaintiffs allege two types of antitrust violations. First, that MLB’s division of the United States into exclusive broadcast markets reduces competition because RSNs need not compete with each other to broadcast games in their local markets. And second, that MLB has monopoly power over the rights to broadcast out-of-market games and it uses that power to limit out-of-market viewing to either Extra Innings or to MLB.tv. The lawsuit contends that absent these restraints, RSNs would compete with each other to broadcast “out-of-market” games in other parts of the country, making games more accessible and more affordable.

At first blush you might think, “How can a lawsuit like this succeed? MLB has an antitrust exemption.” To an extent, it does. But that exemption is court-created and it dates to the early 20th Century and has origins in the reserve clause. MLB has been careful in recent years not to exert the exemption to justify collective decision-making, for fear Congress would overturn the courts and eliminate the exemption completely.

MLB did try to have the case tossed out soon after it was filed. But the presiding judge — U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin in New York — rejected those arguments and found the plaintiffs had stated plausible antitrust claims. You can read a copy of the court’s decision here.

At the heart of the plaintiffs’ lawsuit is the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in a case called American Needle, Inc. v. National Football LeagueIn that case, an apparel company sued the NFL and its marketing arm, NFL Properties, claiming that NFLP violated antitrust law by granting Reebok an exclusive license to manufacture clothing and other merchandise for all 32 NFL teams. The lower courts had ruled that NFLP was a single entity making a league-wide business decision, and not 32 teams joining together to exclude other apparel companies from the market.

But the Supreme Court rejected that view. Instead, the high court said, that each NFL team is a “substantial, independently-owned and independently-managed business” and that NFL teams “compete with one another, not only on the playing field, but to attract fans, for gate receipts and for contracts with managerial and playing personnel.” Based on those facts, the court ruled the decision by NFL teams to license their individually owned trademarks in a collective fashion and only by one vendor “deprives the marketplace” of individualized decision-making. American Needle is nearing trial in the federal district court in Chicago.

In the antitrust action against MLB, the case will now proceed to the “discovery phase” when the plaintiffs and defendants exchange documents and question witnesses under oath. MLB will likely have to produce to the plaintiffs documents about the creation and maintenance of the broadcast territories;  MLB’s contracts with FOX, ESPN and TBS; and financial and business information about MLB.tv, to name a few. And MLB and RSN witnesses will have to testify on these and related topics. In these sorts of cases, documents and testimony are typically provided subject to a confidentiality order, such that they can’t be shared with the public. But if the case proceeds to trial, at least some of this information will become public. The court set an Oct. 15 deadline for the parties to complete discovery.

At this stage — and without access to the documents and information the parties will exchange in the next several months — it’s difficult to handicap the outcomes. We do know that, unless the parties settle the dispute, the litigation will be expensive and the ultimate resolution will take years.

In the meantime, MLB teams with expiring local TV contracts continue to make deals worth hundreds of millions — if not billions — of dollars based on the existing broadcast territory system. If the RSNs are smart, they’ve anticipated the possibility that MLB’s blackout policy will be found illegal by a court, and included language in the contracts giving them an out under such circumstances. And you can be sure teams will fight hard to keep their lucrative deals, particularly since they’ve signed expensive long-term player contracts.

For now, the MLB broadcast territories remain in place. MLB’s new national TV contracts with FOX, ESPN and TBS go into effect in 2014, and FOX has agreed to eliminate out-of-market blackouts for it’s Saturday Game of the Week. So starting in 2014, an Extra Innings or MLB.tv subscriber will be able to watch any FOX Saturday broadcast not being shown in her regional market that day. But all other blackouts will remain in effect.

That is, unless the courts say otherwise.




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Wendy writes about sports and the business of sports. She's been published most recently by Vice Sports, Deadspin and NewYorker.com. You can find her work at wendythurm.pressfolios.com and follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


155 Responses to “MLB Blackout Policy Under Attack In The Courts”

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  1. CD says:

    Iowa is also blacked out of the White Sox and (I think) the Cardinals as well.

    Both Iowa and Las Vegas are blacked out of SIX teams each. Ouch.

    As a Cardinals fan living in Jacksonville, we only play the Marlins six times a season, and most of those games are on locally, so it’s not a big of a deal for me. But the FOX Saturday restrictions REALLY piss me off. Preventing me from watching my Cardinals is NOT going to make me more likely to watch whatever game FOX decides to show.

    I hope that we win this lawsuit.

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    • NP says:

      I’m in a similar situation as you being a Mets fan living in Boston. For the most part everything works fine and I love MLB.tv, but the FOX Saturday restrictions are really terrible and make no sense. It’s not like FOX is going to show the Mets on TV in the Boston area. If I was back home in NY I would just watch them on FOX…but then I wouldn’t be subscribing to MLB.tv. So I’m left with no way to watch the team except for internet streams (which do not produce any money for the MLB), It makes no sense. Really idiotic on MLB’s part that they are not providing a service which people would gladly pay for.

      I would gladly pay extra for a blackout free subscription or would not care if they showed TV ads for games that are supposed to be on FOX. This seems to be the common sentiment in this thread too. Why not just reproduce the FOX broadcast, commercials and all, on MLB.tv? Does that not make sense for all parties? FOX gets more viewers for its ads and MLB.tv subscribers are happy. What is the point in preventing me from watching a game I would gladly pay to watch?

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    • Wendy Thurm says:

      Thanks. I’ve added a reference to the Cardinals and White Sox in the comments about blackouts in Iowa.

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    • gnomez says:

      Hey, here in parts of Indiana, we’ve got 5 teams blacked out… than again, I’m not sure what else I’d expect from the only state to have ever head three time zones.

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    • Larry says:

      As a Cardinal fan in east TN i can’t see them when they play Atlanta, Chicago, or Cincinnati and Ohio is 3 states away. I can see Atlanta is a hop skip and jump away, I can even see Chicago we have a Chicago tv station that shows the games. But Cincinnati?

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    • Craig S says:

      I am a Red Sox fan living in NY and have already had TWO games blacked out on MLB Extra Innings. Both games had nothing to do with any blackout restrictions I am aware of, i.e the Saturday afternoon Fox situation or the Sunday night ESPN situation. First, the Red Sox home opener on Monday 4/8 at 2:05 was blacked out. Second, last night’s Boston vs Houston game at 7:10 was blacked out. In both situations, cablevison had no answers for me and simply said that “MLB can black out any game they want at any time”. In last night’s situation, cablevision told me it was a “last minute decision” by MLB. HUH??? As far as I know, both of these games were not subject to any of the criteria within MLB’s blackout restriction policy. Furthermore, both were listed on the cablevision channel guide all throughout the day when you’d go to that particular channel, even while the game was supposed to be on. The only response I received from Cablevision was that they would get back to me after checking with the programming director as to why these games were blacked out. I am not holding my breath.

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      • William Dwyer says:

        I too am a Red Sox fan. I moved to Vegas 14 years ago and have buying the MLB season at $200 per. It absolutely infuriates me that six teams claim territorial rights. The worst is Oakland And San Francisco. Not only when those teams are playing the Sox but when they play in Fenway. Indefensible. MLB offers no explanation or justification for allowing those two cities being 700 miles from Vegas. And Selig still makes statements about caring for the fans. Right!

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  2. Chris from Bothell says:

    You have a knack for breaking down and presenting these kinds of stories. Well done.

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  3. JonathanL says:

    I live in Iowa and was an MLB.tv subscriber last year for Angels games. There were still tons I couldn’t watch, and not being able to see virtually any games on SATURDAY is just ludicrous. I opted out and will not be back until I can watch any game I want. I don’t subscribe to cable TV because I think it’s a ridiculously overpriced product, and when I do pay for something I don’t want restrictions based on what the provider thinks I should already have access to. I hope MLB loses this one hard.

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  4. David says:

    Would they have to deal with the Jays separately in Canada?

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    • Anton Sirius says:

      The only games I can’t watch in Toronto on mlb.tv are Jays games on local broadcast TV. No other blackout rules seem to apply up here. I haven’t bothered to check whether people in, say, Alberta have no restrictions at all.

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      • siggian says:

        No, all of Canada is considered Jays territory. So, Canadians cannot watch a Jays game on mlb.tv.

        MLB wants those lazy Vancouverites to get off their couches and drive to Toronto to see a game.

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        • Brenda says:

          I just recently got a Samsung note, I’m not technically savvy, but was interested in gettting the mlb app on my phone. I live just north of Toronto, so are you saying I can’t watch any Jays games on my phone through this app? That makes no sense. so why would be the point in subscribing to mlb?

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        • Oscar Sanchez says:

          It’s not about going to the games. It’s about the RSNs broadcast rights. So those Vancouverites can watch it on RSN but not their computer.

          Not saying it’s necessarily reasonable but that’s what it comes down to.

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  5. Jeff in T.O. says:

    How about us in Canada?
    We have 1 team and it’s blacked out across the entire country!

    Where did you get the broadcast territory map from, I’d be interested in knowing what range extends over the border for the different teams.

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  6. McAnderson says:

    As a current resident of Iowa, you forgot the Cardinals and White Sox! Six teams… it really sucks here.

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    • steex says:

      Yes, it’s ridiculous. At a given time where none of the six blacked out teams is playing one another, 40% of MLB games are blacked out to folks in Iowa (assuming all 30 are playing that day).

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  7. Ryan says:

    Something I never understood about MLB.TV or Extra Innings are all the blackouts on nationally televised games. Is it to inflate the ego of the insuffrable Joe Buck and Tim McCarver? I mean if you pay for this service, you should be able to watch every game and just have ads going during the commercial breaks. Hell their ads will reach more people that way. The only time a blackout should occur is the broadcast of the team the local team(s) is playing.

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    • LTG says:

      I’ve mentioned this here before. The problem with delivering the FOX broadcasts via MLB.tv in the past has been the local affiliates. The local affiliates worry that if locals can choose out-of-market broadcasts, the value of their ad-slots will decrease.

      MLB also seems resistant to running a network’s ads on its MLB.tv stream. This is most likely because MLB could not negotiate a payment for extending the network’s advertising reach through MLB’s service.

      All of this should change.

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  8. byron says:

    Isn’t the whole point of this to force people to buy cable? So, if you’re going to buy cable anyways, it’s actually awesome to buy it in Iowa because you get 4-6 home baseball teams to choose from? If cable companies lose their regional monopolies, you’re going to see the price of MLB.tv skyrocket to make up the difference. It’s only as cheap as it is now because you’re not supposed to be able to replace cable with it.

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    • McAnderson says:

      The problem, byron, is that the regular cable (or satellite) lineup only includes the Cubs and White Sox (Comcast Chicago). You have to buy the additional sports package to get any of the other teams broadcasts (if they are even available).

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      • McAnderson says:

        In fact, I just checked and only Comcast is available from the cable company. Supposedly, you can get all of them on DirecTV for an extra $15 a month but it seems to me that since I am adding a package to get it, that anyone can do that (or no one can). The same is true for DISH.

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        • Jason Webb says:

          You can call and ask… They are trying to sell their product… No one is held accountable for lying to you when you ask about the restrictions… They get you to order and hope you don’t cancel…

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      • McAnderson says:

        I went ahead and checked. Anyone can add the extra sports package and get those other RSN’s. The problem is that Iowa gets lumped in with all 6 teams local market even though the TV providers do not offer the broadcast. So as I stated before, it really sucks here.

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      • byron says:

        That’s too bad. I lived in Toledo for a while, and both Tigers and Indians games were on the basic cable we had. I figured it was like that, but moreso.

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      • Frustrated says:

        Heaven help you if you are a fan of an out-of-market team in Iowa. As an Iowan resident and Mets fan, I bought DirecTV’s Extra Innings package in 2010. Much to my dismay, I learned that $210.00 did not buy me every single Mets game on the schedule. I was blacked out from the Mets’ 23 games against regional sports opponents. If I wanted to watch the Mets play against the Cardinals or Cubs, I’d have to fork over an additional $13.00 per month for DirecTV’s regional sports package.

        Though the costs themselves weren’t prohibitive the entire process reeked of such nickel-and-dime charges, wasted time learning the arcane blackout rules, and wasted effort figuring out where Iowa fell within MLB’s regional coverage zones, that I have not to renewed either package since. This is a poor business model for a sport that needs to connect with a new generation of fans.

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      • BenS says:

        Anybody with DirecTV or DiSH can add the RSNs, but out-of-market games (MLB, NHL, and NBA but not college sports) will be blocked. So I can subscribe to all the RSNs I want, but as a Texas resident all baseball games other than the Rangers and Astros will still be blacked out.

        Caveat: That’s how it worked the last time I subscribed to those on satellite. I could get the pre- and post-game shows (and sometimes the end of games that ran long) but not the games themselves. I’m not positive this is how things work currently.

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        • Mattrat says:

          As of last year…Games for the Diamondbacks were blacked out on Dish. We were paying for the extra sport package and were able to get all the Dbacks games. Then, for some reason, Dish started blacking them out. No one at Dish can give me a reason for this. So, now, I cannot get in market or out of market games.

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    • Antonio bananas says:

      It’s not cheaper than illegal stream sites or using a proxy to get around it.

      I think this is dumb and its really foolish IMO for these huge tv deals. As a 23 year old I only have cable because its included in my rental agreement. Most people my age and under dont have cable. I’ll be dead in 20 years and dying along the way. Unless its revamped anyways.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • kwk9 says:

      I’m in Mariners territory. To watch Ms games, I’d have to subscribe to about 120 channels through either cable or dish services. I just want to watch baseball. I’d gladly accept MLBTV rate hikes AND commercials between innings if they dropped the blackout rules.

      Thing is, I see media companies fighting this stuff to the very end because live sports is a big part of keeping subscriber-based business models alive. Just think of all the expensive infrastructure upgrades that would be needed if people were able to watch sports on the internet. [shudder]

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      • NatsLady says:

        100% agree. I can’t physically go to every home game and I certainly can’t go to every away game. WHY can’t I watch them in real-time???????????????????????????????????????

        So: I wait out the several hours, try to stay away from the Internet and watch the games later. But that defeats the whole purpose of “live” sports, which is about the only programming that DVR’ing doesn’t circumscribe (meaning you have to see the advertisements to see the action).

        MLB should go ahead and sell advertising and let us see the games as they happen, so we can Tweet with friends and enjoy the experience.

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    • jason says:

      Yeah, and this sucks. Collusional b-s. I’m a New Englander, Red Sox fan. I no longer subscribe to cable because the only things watched were: Red Sox games and Spongebob (uh, for my kids). $100/month for that? I’m of the opinion that the next 10 or so years will see the end of the cable networks as we know them. Pay more for the rights to the few channels you want, streamed.

      +5 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Emme Kay says:

      As McAnderson said, there may not be a cable alternative if the game is blacked out. I live in an area of Western NY state which is blacked out for Mets, Yankees, Pirates, and Indians. The closest city to me in that list is Cleveland, which is 2.5 hours away. Too bad I don’t actually know any Indians fans. Pittsburgh is three hours away. NYC takes six-seven hours to drive to.

      If you’re a Buccos or Indians fan in this area, you’re screwed because there are no cable options available. None. (The Yankees and Mets are on all the time, so I assume they clear their blackout target without help from we people ridiculously far away who happen to share a state.)

      Honestly I fail to see how this helps the smaller market teams at all.

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  9. Scott says:

    This is the best news I have read in quite some time. I find less and less time to consume baseball via cable TV but find plenty of time to watch baseball games on my mobile device. Excluding my local team’s games from that service has basically made me stop watching my local team and start watching other teams instead. Way to ensure the local product doesn’t suffer as a result of MLB.tv……morons

    +6 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • NatsLady says:

      EXACTLY. Review history: when teams started radio broadcasts of home teams–interest and attendance went UP. The more you know about your home team, the more you grow attached to it, the more you spend money on tickets, apparel and other stuff. Baseball needs to recognize that they are not the NFL–their strength lies with the hometown fans.

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  10. Neil says:

    Try living in NC. Blacked out from Bal/Wsh and no local company provides MASN.

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    • ThirteenOfTwo says:

      Try living in Hawaii. Blacked out from literally every single west coast team and only the Angels and Dodgers broadcast anything here. Can’t watch anything on MLB.TV that includes the Mariners, Athletics, Padres or Giants. (Weather’s nice, though.)

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    • Britt says:

      Not only that, but it makes no sense because when I lived in Greensboro, I could get some Braves games (I can’t remember what channel it was, maybe Fox Sports South?) but was never blacked out from those games on MLB.TV. What is the logic there?

      I can live with the blackouts now that I’m back in the Bay Area because I can actually get Giants games on cable or on the radio, but blacking people out of games they can’t get on TV even if they WANTED to is just baffling to me.

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  11. Phantom Stranger says:

    It’s terribly shortsighted by MLB as a whole to have so many blackout restrictions across the country. But each team’s revenues are directly tied to their local TV ratings and no one wants to give up a single penny of local television money.

    MLB is loathe to use the anti-trust exemption because they know it stands on flimsy legal ground and could be easily lost through Congress or a future court decision.

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  12. Aaron (UK) says:

    Simple solution: move to UK. Downsides: weather; most games start after midnight.

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  13. bill says:

    That map doesn’t show Hawaii, but we’re blacked out by every west coast team. And it’s worse than that – MLB.tv considers Hawaii to be home territory of the Seattle Mariners. However – DirecTV, ROOT Sports, and the Mariners don’t. So I can’t watch the games on MLB.tv, and subscribing to a cable package won’t alleviate the situation either.

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  14. Stuck in a Slump says:

    I remember reading a while back, that international MLB.tv subscribers (those not residing in the US or Canada) didn’t suffer blackouts, but I was never sure if that included the Fox Saturday broadcasts, it did say that all postseason games were available though.

    Since I’ll soon be an international MLB.tv subscriber, I hope I won’t be blocked from all baseball broadcasts on Saturday afternoons!

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  15. KM says:

    This reminds me of when I switched to direct TV (briefly) a number of years ago. I specifically asked them if I would get to see the games that were broadcast on Comcast – they said sure I would, so I signed up. Turns out I did get games on Comcast – from three media markets I did not live in….made no sense at all to me that Comcast would black out local games on direct TV – don’t they want more ratings, and more people to see their ads?

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  16. Derb says:

    I’ve been complaining about this for years. As a Tiger fan living in Nashville, I’ve subscribed to the Extra Innings and then MLB.tv package for 6 years now so I can watch whatever Tiger game I want. I understand if they truly are being nationally broadcast, not putting on MLB.tv, but if they aren’t? I pay to watch EVERY game, I should be able to watch EVERY game!

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  17. NatsLady says:

    its, Wendy, its.

    Also, I would pay $$ to watch the Nats games on various devices. I can watch them when visiting my family in North Dakota, but not here in DC. MAKES NO SENSE. Having a cable wire is not how people live their lives, so, I subscribe to cable and have a Vulkano (similiar to a Slingbox) and I can watch games. I wonder why MLB and other media companies are subsidizing (or requiring) this device.

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  18. Anonity says:

    I thought MLB’s new broadcast agreement with Fox did away with blackouts on MLB.tv beginning in 2014?

    Also, Congress already did step in to take away baseball’s antitrust exemption in collective bargaining matters. It is the Curt Flood Act of 1998. That’s why MLB hasn’t relied on the exemption during either of the latest rounds of collective bargaining (well, that and the fact that the last three CBAs have been reached without a fight).

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    • Anonity says:

      Just to clarify, I realize Wendy’s article notes this already…I’m just pointing it out to some of the commenters who are complaining about the Saturday blackout issue…

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  19. kiss my GO NATS says:

    I have always felt that the black out rules hurt the long term viability of the sport. Here in Memphis it is nearly impossible to see Cardinals, Reds, and Braves games. Many poor kids in the city would probably be baseball fans if they could regularly see Cards games, but they can’t. So besides those who frequent the AAA Redbirds, baseball is dead here. Last season I frequently wore my Nationals hat around the city and more than a few individuals openly thought I worked for Walgreens. College kids should know who the Nationals are, but many here do not thanks to never being able to see them on TV.

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  20. Westside guy says:

    I’d previously bought mlb.tv, but quickly came to realize just how much baseball they won’t allow me to watch. Seriously, blacking out my team’s road games is bad enough; but then (when I decided to try their $10 special last August) when I found the wouldn’t even let me watch roughly half of the out-of-market games that had playoff significance…

    I think this will sort itself out eventually, when enough of the dinosaurs that run baseball die off – but I’m not exactly a spring chicken either, so I’m not sure I’ll live to see it.

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  21. d_i says:

    My wife and I grew up in Iowa and contemplated moving back, but my unhealthy addiction to baseball (I watch different teams every night) was a larger influence than it should have been in my desire to stay in KC. As pointed out by everyone, they make no sense. Who is gaining from blacking out teams that aren’t even available on cable? The teams are losing potential fans by not marketing their product and MLB.tv offers less value. People who buy cable and mlb.tv are paying twice for the same service and they’re still not guaranteed to get the games. It’s indefensible.

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  22. Jason says:

    This is a very simple situation to solve. If a consumer can not watch a game a free TV or cable then it should be available on line. There are too many markets where a baseball fan is blacked out due to some nebulous broadcast territory. Also, local cable feeds should be available on phones and tablets. Bottom line: if a consumer wants to consume your product, let them. Fans needing to sue baseball to watch baseball shows a severe case of not understanding your product.

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  23. Ben says:

    Wendy, is this a class-action lawsuit, and if not, would it make any difference? I’d imagine there are a few million plaintiffs in this case.

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    • Paul Thomas says:

      It’s styled as a class action suit, but it has not yet been “certified.” In plain English, what this means is that before a suit can go forward as a class action, a court has to rule that a some important requirements are met. The “name plaintiffs” have to be relatively typical of class members, they have to be adequate representatives of the class, and a class action has to make sense because there are lots of potential plaintiffs, each with a very similar or identical claim.

      This suit hasn’t gone through that testing process yet, so it’s only a “putative” class action. It’s reasonably likely that it will be certified because the customers are all similarly situated (just about everyone who bought mlb.tv is a potential plaintiff and the customers’ claims are all identical), but I suppose the court could still find that the name plaintiffs are inadequate representatives.

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  24. kevin says:

    unblock-us.com is the solution to all your MLB.tv black out issues. It lets me watch every game, at any time. Including the Mariners & Jays games that I’m supposed to be blacked out from, as I’m located in Vancouver. It even lets me watch the All-Star game and the playoffs & world series.

    Not to mention it lets me get US Netflix in Canada.

    For someone who doesn’t have cable at all it’s best $5 a month I spend, especially during the baseball season.

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  25. Dan says:

    These claims definitely have legs (former antitrust attorney), which is exciting because minus the blackouts MLB.tv is a great service.

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  26. BalkingHeads says:

    If you live in Grenada and got the package, would anything be blacked out? Could you (I) even buy it?

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  27. I agree with the sentiments of inputing commercials to allow the broadcast of all the saturday afternoon games. I will be purchasing MLB.tv because I love baseball too much, but I’m not even close to satisfied since I’m blocked out of my Dodger games and I refuse to pay for cable. I’d gladly pay MLB.tv extra.

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  28. Jason says:

    Technically I’m a displaced Cardinals fan in San Diego – however twice a year I get to watch when the Cardinals play the Padres…except on AT&T Uverse. I’m in the home area of the Padres – I get the Fox Sports channel for the Cardinals, Uverse does not offer the Fox Sports channel for the Padres and I still get blacked out. I’ve complained to many MLB sponsors with no results, probably because I’m just one person, sigh…

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  29. Ian T Roberts says:

    I hate the FOX Saturday afternoon game. How many perfectly good weekends have been ruined by their nonsensical decision to play the LAD @ St. Louis when I live in NY and would rather watch Atlanta @ Philly. Makes no sense.

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  30. Davor says:

    MLB antitrust exemption was a congressional decision early last century to prevent rival league from forming. It was challenged in courts couple of times, but every time judges decided “Congress gave it, Congress should take it away”.

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    • Anonity says:

      This is actually completely incorrect. The exemption was created by the Supreme Court in the 1922 case of Federal Baseball Club of Baltimore v. National League, affirmed in the 1953 case of Toolson v. New York Yankees, and affirmed once again most recently in Flood v. Kuhn. In later years the Court has argued that it is up to Congress to address the exemption, but that is because Congress has allowed it to remain for 90+ years, not because Congress created it in the first place.

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  31. Eric says:

    I am a Mets fan living in NE Pennsylvania (approx 150 miles from Citifield). This area is supposedly part of Mets ‘territory’ but Comcast – the only cable choice in this area – does not carry SNY or WPIX. Therefore it is not possible for me to see any Mets games except when they are playing the Phillies or Pirates.

    I don’t understand the MLB party line that they are somehow protecting the rights of the regional sports networks or the teams themselves with the current policy. For me, I live too far away to go to games, but they are completely unavailable. There is no way blacking them out will get me to buy tickets and drag my family 3-4 hours into NY each way to a game.

    The only revenue MLB can expect to make from me is if I subscribe the the MLB package, and I would gladly pay $150 for that package, but since I can’t watch the Mets games I won’t do so.

    I just don’t get it. How is it possible that the curent situation is even good for MLB?

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  32. Peter says:

    In addition to the price-gouging, the bigger problem is that a fan wanting to see a particular team’s games on TV or online may not be able to do so at any price. If the MLB.com blackout applies in a particular area and the local cable or satellite provider does not provide the blacked out broadcast on any tier, the fan’s only option might be to drive 6 hours to the ballpark, which is ridiculous. I cannot understand why any business would deny its product to a customer willing to pay for it.

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  33. Matt Snow says:

    As an Orioles fan in Baltimore but gearing up for a move to SoCal in April, I’m kind of terrified of the blackout restrictions, especially as FOX and ESPN are finally interested in broadcasting the O’s nationally again after 2012’s surprising playoff run. They play the Angels before I get out there, and for whatever reason the only NL West team not on the schedule this year is the Dodgers, so I’ll have to trek to San Diego to see them play the Padres live.

    Sidebar (legal reference FTW!): has anyone else ever noticed that interleague schedules almost always leave out one team each season? When the AL East got paired with the NL Central last year, Baltimore didn’t play the Cubs. This year, they don’t play the Dodgers. The AL East plays the NL East almost every year, but rarely play the Marlins. Just wondering if this is a travel issue (though LA is closer to Baltimore than San Diego), or a by-product of our obligatory second series against the Nationals each season, or (and this is my small market inferiority complex kicking in) if MLB prefers to have the large market squads play one another for better ratings/attendance?

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  34. Eric says:

    Matt,

    There are fewer teams in the American League. That’s why two NL teams end up playing each other during interleague play. That causes the imbalance you noticed. That should go away as the Astros are moving to the AL. Both leagues will now have 15 teams and the imbalance will go away.

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  35. StrosFanDFW says:

    I think it is ridiculous that I am blacked out from getting Astros games in Dallas (240 miles away from Minute Maid Park) using mlb.tv. There is no station or cable provider that carries the Astros games.

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    • WastedAB says:

      I have the same problem as an Astros fan living in Oklahoma. It’s not like CSN Houston will be available here. Also ALL Royals games are unavailable on cable and satellite and also blacked out here.

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    • Reider Hunt says:

      This truly is ridiculous, I live in Oklahoma as well and having no MLB team I get 4 blackouts: Rangers, Royals, Astros, and Cardinals. not a single team within 200 miles of me and 500+ miles from St. Louis. Royals and Astros simply arent shown in my area.

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      • Jason Webb says:

        Rangers are not blocked out in Oklahoma… Astros royals cardinals and maybe Colorado are blacked out… I’m not a Rangers fan so I don’t watch them even though We are in there home market…

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  36. john says:

    The blackout policy is a joke. If you have Comcast depending on your area you may have additional RSN’s other than your local. I have SNY-Mets, CSNBA-Giants, CSNCH- Cubs,White Sox. It makes me mad you pay for these channels $4.95 a month in my case and can only watch pre and post game shows and not the games. In my book you pay for a channel you should get all the content on this channel. these pro sports teams are laughing all the way to the bank. hope these people win this lawsuit against MLB.

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  37. Jason C. says:

    Hawaii has got to have the worst blackout restrictions. I’m stationed here with the Army and love to watch the Mariners but can’t. NINE teams (last I checked) have claimed Hawaii as their local region, including all west coast teams, therefore they are blacked out. This means that up to 18 teams are blacked out on any given day (the 9 plus their opponents if they weren’t already blacked out). How am I in the local market when I’m at least 2500 miles from the closest team that’s blacked out? I have also read that Guam is blacked out as well! MLB needs to get their heads out of their rears and wake up. They are losing a huge fan base in Hawaii because there is no way to enjoy a game live. Watching it recorded doesn’t feel the same.

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  38. BLAlley says:

    I’d love for someone to explain the logic behind preventing fans from watching games. They make all of their money from the fans. Not advertisers, but fans. WE buy the products, the tickets, the food, and the souvenirs. Companies only pay for advertising to be exposed to the fans who are watching.
    How is Baseball allegedly losing money by preventing thousands of fans from watching games?
    Most of them, like me, who can’t go to games or get them on TV would gladly pay the $80 for MLB TV so we can watch too, but MLB would rather punish us for not being rich enough or close enough to attend games in person by not allowing us to watch at all. Disgusting.

    Imagine if Walmart checked everyone’s wallet before entering the store, and turned away anyone who didn’t have at least $1000 on them.

    Bud Selig has been the worst thing to ever happen to baseball since minorities weren’t allowed to play. He needs to go.

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    • jay says:

      I will readily admit I’m talking out of the wrong end here, but to me, the logic is perfectly sound from the economic side. I imagine its companies like Comcast that are primarily behind it. Raise your hand if you would cancel your cable subscription and buy MLB.tv if you could get all your local market games. I’m sure that scares the pants off the cable companies and they probably give a ‘heck of a deal’ to MLB in exchange for the blackouts. Now I do believe MLB could start a world bank with the income they would receive if they told the RSNs to take a hike, and produced all their own games, but that infrastructure would be a huge upfront cost I would imagine. Anyway, I’m not an authority on the subject, its just what I’ve come up with when I’ve thought about it. If there is an authority on this, I’d love to hear how close this is to the mark.

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      • russ says:

        MLB won’t tell the RSN’s to take a hike because the RSN’s are significantly owned by MLB clubs. One can’t expect self-hatred.

        The real issue with the MLB-owned RSN’s is that the clubs want to keep that money for themselves rather than throw it all into a pool. All the revenue from MLB.tv is pooled and all the clubs draw from it proportionally (I was going to write “equally” but I doubt anything is that simple with MLB).

        I use NESN in Boston as my example. The Red Sox own that (or a significant majority of it) and that cable channel made up almost HALF the purchase price of the Red Sox when John Henry bought the team. John Henry wants that extra $7 a month (and all that ad revenue) going to the Red Sox, not pooled for all the teams to draw from.

        The obvious answer to this is an additional charge to lift the local blackout on MLB.tv. And this could be set on a team-by-team basis so that the additional charge could be directed to the team rather than the pool. For example, the Red Sox could allow MLB.tv to charge and additional $12 a month in the Red Sox blackout areas to lift the Red Sox blackout and the Red Sox would get that additional $12; the Cubs could request an additional $10 a month in their blackout areas, while the White Sox could charge $8 in the exact same areas. So Iowans could choose 6 additional monthly charges if they wanted to go that far (and the blackout would be lifted for the overlapping games so the person buying only the White Sox un-blackout would get to watch the White Sox vs. Royals games.)

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  39. jay says:

    Here is my opinion. As a Detroit fan who has endured the Lions for 40 years, I have a Detroit perspective. I think many Lions fans (though not nearly enough) are realizing that there is no reason for Ford to field a winning team. Between, merchandise, TV and tickets, he can’t do much better financially. This is not unlike the situation with the MLB…

    I think as long as MLB fans continue to flock to cable and Home games, MLB has the upper hand. An enterprising fan might organize a nationwide boycott of cable and the games until all blackouts are lifted. If you chuckled to yourself, imagine how the MLB and cable executives feel: invincible. Try talking a bunch of coach potatoes into dropping cable. But if the fans could endure it for a couple of years, things would have to change for MLB to get their product out to the masses. (Of course then your comcast internet bill will just go up, right?)

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  40. Zach says:

    i have a google tv(internet on my tv), live in iowa and subscribed to mlb.tv last season, they didn’t blackout anything, not a single game. this has to be something w/ the tv, perhaps they think it’s in china? i have no idea……but i got cubs/sox/royals/cards/twins etc games here….i may or may not get it again this year, if i do i’ll post if it still works this way or not.

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  41. Jonah Falcon says:

    Baseball is not football. It has 10 times more games than football. You don’t see blackouts due to stadiums not selling out, so why can’t I watch my team play at the park on my iPhone?

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  42. evosero says:

    The problem are cable providers. They’ve learned from the music industry and are protecting themselves.

    All the networks pay for the rights to games. They do so, because they then have the exclusive rights to games. Want to see Giants games, then you need Comcast Sports, or Jays games, then you need Sportsnet, which aren’t over-the-air.

    Ok, but how do they make that money back? Advertising. They can determine their advertising based on viewership and that they are the exclusive home of that game, right?

    Now, what’s problem with online? Traditionally, it was that you can’t track it as easily (or so they claim) and advertisers don’t value the data as equally.

    Except with MLB.tv, MLB is getting money directly from fans, along with all the associated demo data. Locations, ages, everything. They could easily work out deals with networks where the network feed is shown on MLB.tv as it is, and data is shared with the networks for advertising purposes, and deals are based on the viewership of online etc. They can’t make the case that they’re losing viewers to MLB.tv, it’s just expanding their viewerbase.

    If that all makes sense, then why aren’t they doing it this way?

    Because sports are the only real reason to keep paying for cable. You can get all the major networks over-the-air in HD, and you can watch most shows via network websites, Hulu and Netflix.

    The only thing you can’t legally get without cable are local sports broadcasts.

    The blackouts aren’t so much about ticket sales. In Canada they don’t expect you to attend games from Vancouver. But if you have have Sportsnet to watch Jays games (a network which is owned by Rogers, which is a dominant cable provider, and also owns the Jays) and so you have to pay for cable.

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  43. Shannon says:

    Oklahoma is nearly as bad as Iowa. We are blacked out of Cardinals, Astros, Rangers, and Royals games. As a Cardinals fan living over 500 miles from St. Louis, this is very frustrating. The only cable provider in my area (Suddenlink)only offers Fox Sports Oklahoma (a subsidiary of Fox Sports Southwest). If the Rangers are on, then their game gets preference over the Cardinals. Or, if there is something “more interesting” from one of the local OK teams (Thunder, OU Sooners, OSU Cowboys), then no baseball at all! I just don’t understand how Oklahoma can be the “home territory” for 4 different teams! For God’s sake, just pick one! I would hope that this gets resolved and the court decides against blackouts, but that may be many years away.

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  44. Jamie D says:

    THANK YOU for bringing attention to this topic!!!

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  45. Alyssa says:

    I do not want to HAVE TO pay for cable when I only want to watch BASEBALL! These stupid blackouts are essentially forcing me to do just that. I’ve paid for MLB.tv “Premium”…yet, I cannot watch the games of my team because I like a local team?! It’s disgusting.

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  46. Brian says:

    Right now as I type this MLB extra innings is blacking out the Phillies vs. Braves game. I live in the New York viewing area. The game is not on Fox or ESPN. So, I cannot figure out why the game is being blacked out. The season opener the other day was blacked out too. Now this is the thing, the game was scheduled to be on ESPN2. However, the game wasn’t on ESPN2 it was blacked out. I actually think this is Comcast screwing up.

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  47. Curtis says:

    I live in North Carolina, in MLB-designated Orioles/Nationals territory. However, their RSN (MASN) isn’t carried on local cable. This means as a cable customer, there is no way to see either team, as they remain blacked out. This also means fans of any team on the eastern seaboard lose upwards of 18 games of their team.

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    • Chris says:

      Here in Gettysburg, PA, Comcast will not carry CSN Philly (which they own) on their system and yet we all still get blacked out of Phils games when they are on ESPN, MLB Network, etc. And Comcast refuses to share its CSN Philly channel with Directv so we out of luck there to. 4 games into the season I haven’t been able to see them once! And I am a Phillies season ticket holder! Close enough to drive to the stadium but far enough away that they black me out and don’t let me have their channel.

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  48. mike Henry says:

    I live in Columbus Ohio, why are Pittsburgh Pirates games blacked out on the Pirates Network Root Sports and also on MLB Extra innings, I dont understand why this is. Can you please explain, Thanks

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    • Sagar says:

      Mike Henry,

      Holy crap! Same problem here. I live in downtown columbus and have had directv since moving here 3 years ago. We were considered “local” for reds, indians, pirates, and so i could watch pirates games on Root Sports PGH. It was always blacked out on MLB extra innings, which is fine. But now Root is blacked out. I went to Directv’s website and did a RSN look up using zipcode, and columbus is no longer being considered local for pirates anymore. That would be ok, BUT MLB EXTRA INNINGS AND MLBTV CONTINUES TO BLACK OUT PIRATES GAMES IN COLUMBUS. DOUBLE WHAMMY. I think this is an issue we can take up with Root sports or directv. Please email me at sagarpatelmd@gmail.com if you find out whats going Mike. Thanks.

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      • Suzanne says:

        Good luck guys. I live in WI and have watched Cardinals games on FSN Midwest via DirecTV for several years. This week while they are playing the Reds, the gamed are blacked out. (Normally only local Brewers games are blacked out because they are shown on FSN WI.) After an hour and a half on the phone with DirecTV where they could not even give a schedule of blacked out games, I contacted FSN Midwest. They told me that MLB has limited their access to broadcast in certain areas. Still could not get a listing from anyone of which games that will be. What a joke.

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      • Alan O'Neil says:

        Mike/Sager,

        Same here. I live in Galena, have had DTV for 13 years plus the Sports Pack. Never an issue with seeing the Pirates until this year. Great email from DTV – “we aren’t carry the games and you can’t watch them any other way…sorry”. I’ve been on a daily email exchange with them plus calls and all they will give me is “it’s a cost savings” but won’t tell me what that is. I keep running it higher and higher in their customer service dept. Not sure if it will help but I’m going to make sure they understand how pissed I am. I just re-upped for 2 more years a month ago!!!!! I hate them right now.

        I’ve emailed the Pirates, MLB and Root Sports Pit but none of them have responded.

        Please, email and call DTV/MLB. We need more voices expressing their displeasure with them!!

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        • Gina says:

          We are in Columbus also and were shocked the games are blacked out this year. Root on DirectTV was the only remaining option in this market for the Pirates. We have emailed and called DirectTV (who doesn’t care as long as they save money), Root and the Pirates. FWIW, I think the Pirates were blindsided by this and they took our name, address and zip code. They are getting lots of complaints and are tracking it so please contact the Pirates if you haven’t already.

          DirectTV also reminded us we couldn’t cancel our contract early nor would we be able to get the Pirates on MLB EI because of MLB Black out. So ridiculous! I am going to send some of this information to one of the Plaintiff attorneys in the lawsuit.

          I can watch every single MLB team here except the one I want to! At least they play the Reds this weekend so we can watch them but not with Walk, Brown and the gang.

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    • Jerry says:

      I live in Columbus also and am a Tigers fan. I am blacked out from Tigers games and no one offers Fox Sports Detroit. I can’t watch a live game except when they play the Indians or the Reds. MLB tv is not an option, Fox Saturday game is not an option and I don’t believe ESPN Sunday Night is an option (I will find out tonight) Simply ridiculous. Also, satellite is not an option because I don’t have a clean horizon view. Thank goodness for audio on XM MLB.com or I would have absolutely no way being involved in the season.

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      • Jeff says:

        Jerry,
        Also a Tigers fan in Columbus. MLB.tv does show most Tigers home and away games. You can stream it on line. You can watch it on your tv if you have a Playstation 3 or Apple TV etc. Tiger games blacked out on MLB.tv are games against Indians and Reds(makes sense), Pirates(even though unable to watch Pirates games in Columbus) and the Fox and ESPN national blackouts.

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  49. Jeff Stein says:

    How would you like this scenario. In the Lehigh Valley Pa our cable provider RCN refuse to pick up a Philadelphia Comcast cable channel that is used when two or more sports overlap, like in April when baseball, hockey and basketball seasons all over lap. Comcast has to have two stations to broadcast all three sports. RCN cable Lehigh Valley refuses to pick up the sister station from comcast. So for this April alone I cannot watch the EIGHT regular season Phillies games no matter what. I have the MLB TV package and the MLB internet package and cannot see the games on any format. We have the Phillies AAA team here as well and still no one cares. I’ve been writing for five years! Same thing happens with just basketball and hockey.

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  50. Mark says:

    I’m not sure the blackout rules are consistently and appropriately applied, either. I live in Tallahassee, Florida, and got MLB Extra Innings on Comcast for one year.

    I estimated I couldn’t see about 405 of the Cardinals games (the reason I bought Extra Innings). There were of course the Fox and ESPN blackouts, but also random, frequent and inexplicable market blackouts as well. Cardinals playing in Arizona on a Thursday get-away game was blacked out, for example. Comcast claimed no knowledge and I got nowhere with MLB on line, either.

    I won’t buy Extra Innings or mlb.tv again until I am guaranteed EVERY GAME in EVERY MARKET, WITHOUT EXCEPTION.

    IF you actually want to watch the games, piracy is the only way to go, and I highly recommend it. If MLB won’t sell me something I’d happily pay for, I’m okay with obtaining it without paying them.

    I sincerely hope this suit is successful.

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  51. Aaron says:

    I might have it the worst. I live in Hawaii (no sympathy for that) and have all 6 west coast teams blacked out. Those games start at 4pm my time. So the only teams that I can watch start at 1pm.

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  52. Caitlin says:

    Should have included Hawai’i in the blackout map. We’re blacked out of Seattle, Bay Area, and San Diego (we have FSW and Primeticket on cable). So, trying to watch any of the Tigers games on the west coast is impossible unless they play LA or ANA. Complete crap. We’re 2300 miles from San Francisco. WTF! I cancelled my subscription today.

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  53. Daniel says:

    I am a rangers fan living in NC. One of the most exciting moments last year was when Hamilton hit 4 homers in one game. Well unfortunately that game was in Baltimore, which apparently mlb would have much preferred me to stroll down to the ballpark to watch it instead because it’s blackouted all the way down through southeast NC nor do we get MASN, which televised nats and orioles games because of other legal issues. Frankly MLB needs to realize we as the baseball lovers just want to watch our games, be it our favorite team or not, I would like to be able to watch a game at 2 on Saturday if it is not nationally televised. I get NBA league pass and the only games blacked out for me are those truly on national tv and thus I can just watch it there, no complications. A little more expensive? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. Instead MLB is royally screwing it’s fans by throwing down restrictions that make no sense. Treat us a little better please. I hope you televise my rangers mariners game today at 4 since I can’t watch it on MLB tv because it’s a Sunday of course. Haha what a joke

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  54. Michael says:

    I live in a suburb of Phoenix AZ called Surprise AZ To my amazement I found out last week that I fall into the home market of the San Diego Padres I’m a Dodger fan I tried to watch a Dodgers Padres game and was told I was in the blackout area of the Padres I thought there was a mistake but it’s true I have to LOL at this policy I live 355 miles away from L.A. and 357 Miles from San Diego if you live in LA you can watch Padres games if you live in San Diego you can watch Dodgers games without blackout if you live in the west valley in Phoenix Az 6 hours away you can’t watch San Diego games does this make any sense to anybody this is insane MLB policy for blackouts is retarded because this would mean I would travel 6+ hours to watch a game when if your in San Diego you would drive 1 hour over to LA and watch the game this is beyond stupid.

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  55. Tom says:

    Just wanted to chime in here.

    I pay very good money for my HD cable service where I pay included into that price for the privilege to watch local team (Tigers).

    I was stupid enough to think that if I bought the $129 a year MLB package I would be able to use the ATBAT app to watch the Tigers on my Ipad. Wrong and my fault for not reading the terms well.

    I find it reprehensible that paying well over $200 a year and paying basically twice that there is no way to lift blackout restrictions. So if I’m home I can watch the games I paid to watch LIVE as they happen but if I dare leave my house I am treated like a criminal who is being punished for leaving my jail cell.

    I can understand blacking out games for folks who chose not to purchase cable/dish/etc. But there should be deals with all cable/dish providers to log in with your credentials (like you can with apps such as HBOgo) and watch the GD product you paid for.

    MLB will NEVER see another dime from me until they can work this nonsense out.

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  56. IABucFan says:

    I’m a Pirates fan living in Iowa, and were I to order MLB.tv, they would be blacked out every time they play the Brewers, Cubs, and Cards. In years when they pay the AL central, they would be blacked out when playing the White Sox, Royals, and Twins. Of these six teams, only one, the Twins’, RSN is included on our DirectTV package. In other words, the Pirates would be blacked out at least 57 out of 162 games a year. In short, MLB.tv is a rip off if you live in Iowa.

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  57. Jeff says:

    The whole situation is baffling. I live in Los Angeles and get the DirectV Extra innings package to watch Phillies games. I’ve noticed this season that they are hardly showing the Philly feed but that’s fine. I can deal with the “out of town” feed. Stranger, though, is that the Phils are playing the Pirates tonight and the game is blacked out in LA? Why? As far as I’m concerned, if you are actually paying extra for the service, you should get ALL the games.

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  58. Jeff says:

    The question is, who do you contact to complain? DirectV wants no part of it.

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  59. Jack says:

    I made the mistake thinking that living in South Bend and Comcast not carrying the Tigers I could get it on MLB.TV. I like another earlier did not notice the blackout restrictions. Boy was I surprised to see that the only way to find out about the Tigers was to listen….$129 to listen you have to be kidding me. So I called within an hour and they are refunding me everything. I did read them the riot act with not having a disclaimer when you put in your zip code that you would not be able to watch these teams and list them. If they would have done that I would have said heck no!!! The reason for this was we have cut cable (not going to spend $100 for channels we never watch) and was trying to find a way to get my Tigers.

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  60. FT420 says:

    The only way that MLB is going to change, short of the law suit mentioned above, is to watch pirated streams. Websites like http://forum.wiziwig.eu/forums/22-MLB-Baseball have links to nearly every game streamed by hobbyists who love baseball and want to help out their fellow fans. There are other sites that have a lot of pop up ads and recurring ads in the view screen, but Wiziwig is not one of them. They don’t even have ads on their site at all. They exist solely for the love of fans who love sports.

    Also, there are a number of VPN (Virtual Private Networks) and Proxy services that a view can use to by-pass the mlb.tv black-out restrictions. It may take a little doing, but they can found. At Wiziwig there are forum threads dedicated to sharing this information.

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  61. Steve Ryalls says:

    Found this site after a Google search and spending a half hour on the phone with DirecTV. Turns out when the powers that be moved the Astros, they reduced the value of my MLB package, which I use primarily to keep up with the Red Sox. Now the Red Sox will play the Astros maybe 7-10 times (haven’t checked yet) and because Houston is in the Texas/LA market on map above, I now cannot watch those Red Sox games against the Astros, despite there being no local broadcast of Astros games in Dallas. Absurd, ridiculous, and archaic. So now all those games essentially were lost from my games that I usually got under the old schedule. I’ll be asking Bud for a refund for that % of the package.

    I do also hate with a passion the Fox Saturday window rule. I stage my own little mini-protest by not watching any Fox broadcasts in my market (usually Rangers) if it costs me a chance to view the Red Sox. It was easy last week– Fox sent the Dallas market the Nationals/Braves game, when the Red Sox/Rays game was the alternate choice with the Lester/Price pitching match-up. Everyone be afraid, because there is some programming executive that is so stupid, he/she felt the best game to send an American League city that the Rays and Red Sox were to visit within two weeks was a National League game between teams virtually no one in North Texas cares about. Brilliant!

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  62. One other aspect of this affects MLB.tv. The blackout region is determined NOT by your location, but by your ISP’s location. Even though I live in eastern Wisconsin, strictly Brewers territory, all Twins broadcasts are blacked out because Charter’s ISP is in Eau Claire.

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  63. Jeff Williams says:

    Thank you! You all have actually made me feel better. I thought Nashville was the only place that was screwed up like a tomato soup sandwich. For some reason, some “genius” decided that we are in the Reds market area, so even though we are 240 miles away, we get blacked out of Cardinals games in Cinn, and for some reason, I think Pittsburgh, if they don’t sell out, which they rarely do. The things that really irritate me are that, sometimes we will get the alternate game for Saturday and the Cardinals will be the national game, but it’s still blacked out and, often, I’ll have the same baseball game on 6 channels on TV. ESPN, WGH, TBS and Fox will all show the same game. That is so idiotic that I can’t imagine the moron that dreamed it up. If you’re a fan of the Braves, you’re going to watch the home feed. If you’re not a fan of the Braves, you’re probably going to watch Duck Dynasty instead. Dumbasses.

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  64. chango says:

    mlb.tv will be the end of baseball as we know it!! How can you perpetuate baseball when you make it impossible for the fans to watch games?? I live in Hawaii and just signed up for mlb.tv to watch Dodger games. But guess what? I’m in the “market” for Dodgers, Mariners, Angels, A’s, and Padres!!! All of those teams are blacked out. I can’t watch home or away games or even replays (stupid since I can just watch the replay on Fox sports anyways). Now they won’t give me a refund on my first month. Outrageous! I’m going to give up on baseball and start focusing on basketball. At least there’s a game on every time I turn on the tv.

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  65. G. West says:

    I’m in Columbus, OH. We only get Reds and Indians games here, so I have mlbtv to see the Tigers. Problem: When the Pirates play the Tigers, I’m blacked out because I’m in a Pittsburgh Pirates market, even though no stations here broadcast Pirates games; only Reds and Indians.

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  66. CC says:

    Thank God!!!! i hate FOX! got mlb.tv last year because i thought i would be able to see them, but no. i didn’t get it this year. i have the mlb package. just noticed fox has my Cardinals game every other Saturday this month-Grrrr! hurry, 2014!!!

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  67. Jim Hollinshead says:

    So. I’m a Cardinals Fan and I just relocated from St Louis to Houston.

    ATT UVerse doesn’t offer MLB TV/Extra Innings so no way to watch Cardinals via UVerse.

    If I get MLB TV with Extra Innings Package and I’m streaming through Apple TV what Cardinals games can I get?

    Many Thanks,

    Jim

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  68. Aquaria says:

    Giants fan in Texas. I live almost in Mexico. I’m HUNDREDS of miles from Houston or Dallas. Further than Cleveland is from Detroit.

    The only time baseball is on TV here is if it’s Saturday. Or the playoffs.

    If the Giants are playing the Dodgers on Fox Saturday, I can’t watch, because it’s ‘national’. Well, if it’s national, why isn’t it on EVERY Fox channel in the nation? National means shown NATIONALLY. Duh!

    Well, except to the scumbag thieves at MLB.

    The blackouts should apply ONLY to the local TV market (99.9% of everyone who would or has bought a ticket to a game lives near the park! DUH!), or a 50 miles radius, whichever is larger. Any further than that, and you can watch whatever game you want.

    PS: Jim, you should get most Cards games in Houston if you subscribe to MLB Premium online, unless the Cards 1) play the Astros or Rangers or 2) are one of the Fox or ESPN ‘national’ broadcasts.

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  69. richard barkley says:

    Why are some of your BASEBALL GAMES BLACKED OUT when there are no other channels caring that game central ohio can watch.

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  70. cr says:

    Why cant anyone watch any game, even when your PAYING to watch(cable, satelite, mlb.com)greed that’s why! Times here to start change!Lets start with baseball maybe when they are in danger of losing there exemption they will start to think about just broadcasting the games,in the long run they would be promoting the sport better!

    http://www.change.org/petitions/congress-to-remove-baseball-s-antitrust-exemption-stop-blackouts-in-baseball

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  71. Bryan says:

    I live in southeast Pennsylvania and can’t see Pirates, Orioles, Nationals and of course my hometeam Phillies on stations such as TBS and MLB Network. Does anyone know if Direct TV’s Extra Innings blocks out ALL these teams? If so, it’s totally not worth it.

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  72. Dana.... says:

    OPEN LETTER TO MLB.TV.com
    I have bought the yearly subscription and then gone on to buy the Postseason MLB TV two years in a row. I find your Postseason service to be remarkable bad. Why? Why do you do such a terrible job? Do you hate your customer? Dispise your company? At what meeting did you nice folks at MLB TV, decide that Postseason viewers would enjoy the absence of a game’s score? Or the miserably manic 4 split screen? Or the lack of regular filmed broadcast game? I love baseball. I gladly paid extra money to continue to see baseball. Please for the love of god and all things holy… Let me watch the game in peace.

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  73. mike says:

    Want is wrong with all you people? Do you want to end this unlawful blackout? We the people control this, without us MLB, NBA, NHL, etc would be out of business. You need to get organized, with the power of the internet it would be very easy. When I moved to Nebraska in 1989 from NY, there was no way I was going to not be able to watch the Mets, jets, Islanders, or Knicks, so I bought a 7′ dish, this was before the invention of the small dish. for about 8 years I was in my glory, I was able to see every game for free. Back then all you had to do was point the dish to a particular sat. and you were able to watch it commercial free. Then came the small dish and these greedy SOB’s said we can make millions if we make the people pay for it, which I didn’t have a problem with until the blackout rule which I don’t even have the words to describe how moronic it is. All it would take is for every person that lives in a state that doesn’t broadcast their favorite team to call their provider and cancel their service. When they ask why you tell them because you are sick and tired of the blackout rule and your not taking it anymore. Dish network & Direct TV would scream bloody murder, it would take maybe 2 weeks and I guarantee all sport blackouts would be lifted. it’s all about the almighty dollar and if you people just continue to cry about it yet you keep paying them, nothing is going to change. They laugh their ass off knowing your not going to do a thing except bitch and moan about it.

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  74. Joe says:

    Two things bother me. One is the way MLB.com has it I can watch all the teams I don’t want to. The second is I now do not have cable or satellite because I am sick and tired of paying a ton of money monthly for “very little” that I watch and “poor” service!! I live in Tennessee and would be willing to pay a reasonable amount to watch online. It is looking like the Braves will have to survive without me.

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  75. Jeff says:

    I am a Cub fan living in Central Indiana just north of Indy, and we are in the local blackout area for the Cubs, White Sox, and Reds. For me its not to bad, because I get CSN Chicago because I have Directv but local cable doesn’t offer that channel. Also I am also a big fan of baseball in general so I have the MLB package but about 8 Cubs games and about 30 White Sox are blacked out because they are on local station WCIU which is not available, also I get the Reds only on FSN Indiana not FSN Ohio so about 70 or so Reds games I don’t get. But I agree let’s get rid of these blackouts.

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  76. Fred Ebbert says:

    I live in Honolulu…. despite the difficulty of attending ANY MLB game without a major expense and long-distance flight, we are subject to blackouts of Mariners, Giants, Angels, A’s, Dodgers, and Padres games.

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  77. DAN EDWARDS says:

    Ae the Brewer games on Direct tv in the Choice package , 2014 , for Wisconsin viewers?

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  78. Fight Back says:

    Fans have the power to fight this. Simply boycott baseball. Wake up!

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  79. Eddie Edwards says:

    Live in Southern Ohio in Cincy and Cleveland markets. We are over 200 miles from Pittsburgh no regional sports channel carries Pirates games but we are blacked out of all Pittsburgh games. Makes no sense

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  80. Shawn says:

    As an Iowan, I stopped subscribing to this program a long time ago given the fact that we pay the same rate but only get 80% of the games. It would be one thing if I could get the games of all six of those teams on cable, but in eastern Iowa, only local broadcasts of local Cubs and White Sox games are available on a regular basis. I’ve seen occasional Sunday Cardinals games on one of the over the air channels. In ten years of living in Iowa, I have never seen a Twins, Brewers, or Royals game available on anything but a national broadcast.

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  81. JLF says:

    Here in NC we can’t watch the Braves,Reds,Nat’s and Orioles.MLB as well as ESPN is working with the cable co’s to keep them afloat.It’s a shame in the USA you can’t buy what you want the way you want it.You have to be tethered to a cable line so you can be fleeced for the extra garbage the cable subscribers peddle.While the rest of the world progresses with techno advancements for streaming live events MLB wants us to have to go thru there tax man the cable guy.Dang disgrace in my eyes.

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  82. Paul R says:

    I live in North Carolina, and have the MLB package on cable to watch Detroit Tiger games. When the Tigers play the Orioles, it’s blacked out here, even when they are playing in Detroit as they were this weekend. How does this make sense? I live 6 hours from Baltimore. I do not get local Baltimore TV stations on my cable. How are major league baseball and local tv stations being protected by denying me access to Orioles games, when I am paying $200 for a package to watch “all” games? Are they TRYING to piss off us fans?

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    • Jen V says:

      I am a Tiger fan living in NC & i want to see the Tiger games on directv…& I am trying to figure out what to order…I don’t want to add a package and not be able to watch the games…this past weekend though I was able to see a free preview of extra innings and the game was on but only the Orioles broadcast-or i could see and listen to the tigers broadcast on the MLB extra innings HD channel. If I could just order FSDetroit HD, that would be great as long as no games are not blacked out- but i guess baltimore and washington games would be. And I don’t need all those other channels they offer in packages… i just want to watch my Tigers!

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  83. Xander says:

    I live in St. Louis, and for some reason I am all of sudden this year being blacked out of White Sox games through the MLB.tv service. I wasn’t last year, or the year before that. Has the map that is posted up there changed this year?

    I also called customer support (out of Country) and talked to the customer service representative and he told me that it was a national broadcast. Really dude? So they’re nationally broadcasting every single White Sox game this year? I didn’t realize that team had become so popular. I’m pretty confident he was BS’ing me and MLB has declared St. Louis a Chicago team blackout area, because this was happening with the Cubs games as well, I just haven’t tried watching it for their games as often.

    If anyone else here lives and St. Louis, and has MLB.tv, please let us know if you having the same issue I am.

    Thanks for this great page!

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  84. Paul R says:

    Hey Jen, so you saw the Orioles-Tigers game on directv ? Maybe my problem here is with Time Warner.

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  85. H Wilhelm says:

    Mahalo for this article. I had an MLB dot com description. I live in Hawaii. They blocked me from watching a yankees mariners game. How is it that I am in their market. I am in a different time zone. There is over 2000 miles of ocean between us and washington state? I am a Yankees fan and I am being punished because they are playing the mariners. By the way, I also cant watch the yankees if they play the angles, giants, or dodgers. When I asked for a refund I was denied and they showed me their bull shit arbitration clause that prevents me from bringing a civil action that is buried in their fine print. It took me a law school class in contracts to understand I got screwed into signing something I never agreed too. I cancelled my subscription renewal the following year and I watch the highlights on sports center. Why are they so surprised that baseball viewership is plummeting ?
    MLB can kiss my grits.
    aloha

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  86. H Wilhelm says:

    WENDY,

    Is there any way that customers can become parties in this law suit? Can we call anyone to help this case?

    me ke aloha,

    H

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  87. Kelly Morris says:

    I live 300 miles from the nearest MLB team (Cardinals). We are blacked out from Cardinals, Astros, Rangers, and Royals. It is very short sighted of the MLB to not have options for people to watch their games.

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  88. Gary says:

    I have in recent years retuned the SFGiants and after winning two World Series in the last three years I figured that since I hate cable TV as much as I do I would get the Giants streamed to my iMac and iPad. $25 seemed a bit much but I held my breath and clicked.
    Well.. it turns out there has not been a single game in April I could watch thus far and looking at the schedule I do not see any difference in the remaining April games.
    I just now canceled with a note on how can they advertise like they do without reprisal from people like myself? At the very least their website should include an interactive page that reveals what IS available rather than vague language that reveals what you *might* get to watch someday.

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  89. KMToledo says:

    I’m smack dab in the middle of Detroit Tigers territory, yet Dish blacks out Detroit Tigers games in my area. They say that we’re in Cleveland Indians territory. I’m 12 miles west from where the Mud Hens(the Tigers’ Triple A team) play, but they say this is Indians territory. Only some stupid corporate turd could decide such a policy. How does restricting access to MLB games grow MLB? Can anyone rationally answer that question?

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  90. jinnaislam08 says:

    Hi, Everyone

    I found this website that you can use to listen to Freakonomics: http://freakonomics.radioserie.com/
    Freakonomics
    Radioserie

    Thanks

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  91. Jason Webb says:

    The greed of corporate America is getting out of control… Every time you turn around the corner corporatipns are trying to get in your pocket. They hire people who sit around and think of ways to take advantage of you and then they hide around loop holes in the system with their lawyers help and they make donations to law makers campaigns and other gifts and no fear of reprisal.. The government is supposed to protect the people and they are helping millionaires and billionaire take advantage of the average joe… The legislative branch has no incentive help the people… I believe that our only chance is in federal court … We need a judge to step in and void all of major league baseballs television contracts or end black out completely… Bring in an arbitrator maybe… It’s free to file a federal lawsuit. Any citizen can do it.. Flood the courts… Let your voice be heard. Get it on any news or social media… Millions are being taken advantage of by a few and we have the power to help ourselves … If we were to unite They will give in… Let yourself be heard….

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  92. bill Johnson says:

    I signed up for mlb.com tv baseball so that my father could watch some Angels games, and I understood that the “home games” would be blacked out, HOWEVER, I found out after signing up, that ALL OF THE ANGELS GAMES WERE BLACKED OUT NO MATTER WHERE THEY WERE PLAYED. This is a total rip off DO NOT SIGN UP WITH THESE SCAMMERS.

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