Bowman Says Online Blackouts For MLB Games Could Be Lifted By '15 Season
An easing of blackout restrictions on MLB games online "could come as early as next season," according to Anick Jesdanun of the AP. MLBAM President & CEO Bob Bowman this week said that he is "optimistic that a deal could be reached soon with various cable operators, channels and ballclubs." Jesdanun noted "even with an MLB.TV subscription, which starts at $20 a month, fans will also need a cable or satellite TV subscription to view hometown teams at home." The blackouts have been "one of the most criticized aspects of MLB.TV, which streamed its first game live 12 years ago next Tuesday." MLB.TV this year "streamed the All-Star Game live for the first time." MLB has "similar plans for the playoffs and the World Series, which will be split on television between Fox, ESPN and Turner." To make it easier for viewers, the league "plans to come up with a way for users to sign in to all three at once." In the past, MLB.TV "had a post-season package that offered alternate camera angles but not the main coverage." Bowman said that MLB.TV will "likely offer that again this year for those who don't have the necessary television channels." Still, it is "likely that a pay-TV package will still be needed for games that you can pick up for free with a TV antenna in local markets." It is "not yet known whether streaming would be through MLB.TV or through the channel that has television rights" (AP, 8/20).