MLB Network Announces New Streaming Option

Major League Baseball gets a lot things right. Their Advanced Media department, the group in control of MLB.com and MLB.TV, have now updated their At-Bat app. In addition to watching games — which are still subject to local blackouts — the app now allows for constant viewing of the MLB Network’s round the clock channel. Unfortunately unlike Pinocchio, there remain strings attached to this deal.

A qualifying cable subscription is required to view the MLB Network live stream. The stream is available on iOS and Android phones or tablets as well as Mac and PCs. As noted by the crew over at Awful Announcing, the initial group of cable providers who have agreed to support the stream does not include Comcast. In addition to missing what Wikipedia calls the number one (by subscriber count) provider in the United States, those who use Charter Communications — number six by subscriber count — such as myself, are also left out.

After logging into my app, I was sad to see I was one of the million of baseball fans left out of the ability to stream the show.

mlbapp

The upshot is this means people on the go (or at work) have the option to view MLB Network shows, interviews and even out-of-market games while away from their televisions. Perhaps even more importantly is the inclusion of playoff and preseason games. Being able to catch a spring training game after a long winter or watching a potential series-defining game when not at home and without paying for any extra add-ons is a great move for baseball.

Last season MLB Network claimed two playoff games, Game 2 of the NLDS between the Dodgers and the Cardinals and Game 3 of the NLDS with the Nationals and Giants. In 2013 there were also two DS games shown, one from the NL and another from the AL. The same format of MLB Network getting two DS games stretches back to 2012. Given that MLB, ESPN, Fox and TBS came to an eight-year, $12.4 billion broadcast agreement that runs through 201, count on continuing to be able to see at least two playoff games per year via MLB Network’s online stream.

Even with the blackouts and the restrictions due to cable companies, this 24/7 streaming of a major sport offering represents a first in the world of sports. Yes, the NBA, NHL and NFL all have their own channels however none are simulcast in the same way MLB Network is. This move seems like a way to meet the old crowd and the new generation in the middle. More traditional TV subscribers may not find a ton of use for it and dedicated cord cutters will likely wish MLB Network didn’t require a cable package. Of course, with such a lukewarm offering, it’s hard to imagine this move generating a lasting effect. Perhaps as the NFL embraces the online streaming realm and as more and more people cut the cord, eventually a non-subscription version may arrive at some point.





You can catch David spouting off about baseball, soccer, esports and other things by following him on twitter, @davidwiers.

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Stuck in a Slump
Guest
Stuck in a Slump

This blows for those of us living overseas and don’t have access to American cable providers. I would have hoped that they would allow us to at least access it with our MLB.tv sub considering we have no other way to access it period.

Che
Guest
Che

There is no MLB Network streaming in the At Bat app. You are making this up. Because otherwise you’d be telling us exactly how to access it–under which menus and whatnot. But I’ve looked around, and it’s not there, and At Bat is not offering to update.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Works fine on the laptop, but not getting the “choose provider” option on the At Bat app. When I tap “More”, then “MLB Network”, instead of going to the Choose Provider page, it just says “Now on MLB Network” (with no information), and “Coming Up” (also with no information). Anyone else running in to that? Per the instructions on mlb:com:

iPhone via MLB.com At Bat
1. Download MLB.com At Bat at MLB.com.
2. Open the At Bat app and tap on the “More” icon in the lower right.
3. Tap on “MLB Network.”
4. Choose your provider from the list of participating providers.

Tristam
Guest
Tristam

Do you know if this feature will ever make it to the Roku app for MLB At Bat??