If you are a regular subscriber to the popular MLB.TV premium service, you know that you can watch home and away broadcasts for every out-of-market baseball team all year long. But some people like to only watch their favorite team. Now, thanks to a lawsuit settlement on Tuesday, fans will be able to watch online streams of their individual team.
It had been rumored for a few weeks that this could happen. MLB.TV allows you, for a big price tag of $129.99, to watch every home or away broadcast of all games throughout the year. But a long-running class action lawsuit over MLB’s broadcast rules was settled on Tuesday, and its terms will give fans the option to pay a lesser cost to stream games ONLY from their favorite team. On the same day the trial was slated to begin in New York, a proposed agreement was reached in which Major League Baseball will offer an MLB.TV streaming package for $84.99 per year, for the next five years.
Additionally, the full league-wide package will now be offered at $109.99 for this upcoming season. It’s a 15% discount of its above-mentioned regular cost. That package will allow fans to view any game on any mobile device and gaming platforms that allow download of the app. Jeffrey Dubner, a lawyer who represented the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, issued a statement on the announcement, saying that this will be the least expensive full-season package offering among all major professional sports leagues in the United States.
Major League Baseball has also agreed to lift streaming blackouts of in-market games by 2017, which will make a lot of fans happy. Previously if a fan lived in a city with a team such as Houston, MLB’s blackout rules would prevent them from streaming games that involved the Astros or the Texas Rangers. However the blackout lift does have a few exceptions. It only applies to networks owned by DirecTV (Root Sports), Comcast (CSN), and 21st Century Fox (Fox Sports regional stations), a total of 25 regional sports networks that broadcast baseball games. That leaves out MASN (Orioles/Nationals), YES (Yankees), SNY (Mets), and Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA (Dodgers), among other networks.
The agreement also lifts in-market blackouts for users subscribing to a particular team’s broadcasts. The feature, called “Follow Your Team,” will cost $10 more per season and requires MLB to offer the feature by the All-Star Break. For instance, if you reside in St. Louis and subscribe to a single-team package involving the Cubs, you may now stream Cubs games in St. Louis without the telecast being subject to local blackout. Users will, however, still need to subscribe to their local regional sports network to view normal streams from in-market games.