The 2017 Major League Baseball season will feature something that once seemed utterly implausible — no, not just the Chicago Cubs raising a new World Series championship flag at Wrigley Field.
This year, baseball fans who don’t subscribe to cable or satellite TV services will finally be able to stream their teams’ games through one of the cheapest video services around, Sling TV, without having to resort to illegal workarounds.
It may not be as big of a deal as ending a 108-year championship drought, but it still represents a massive shift in how fans watch their beloved pastime.
Sling also now offersa raft of Fox regional sports networks covering the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers.
If the Zip code associated with your credit card is close enough to those cities — Sling TV did not define that limit, saying it would be up to each network — you’ll get access to your favorite team’s games with the $25 per month Sling Blue package.
There’s one major catch though. The app can detect when you’re not in your home area and will automatically cut off access to your local sports network when you’re out of range.
A deal announced at the start of last yearallowed in-market viewing of 25 teams’ games — but at a $10 surcharge above the regular MLB.tv rate, and with a requirement that you also keep a pay-TV bundle including that regional sports network.
What’s changed?MLB Advanced Media, the subsidiary behind MLB.tv, did not respond to questions asking why, but you can’t ignore the growing numbers of people who have dropped cable and satellite TV subscriptions.
As impressive as that list of sports networks now available online may be, it still leaves out some major exceptions.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and their pricey SportsNet LA network — manypay-TV services around L.A. still don’t carry it — remain unavailable at Sling, DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue. So do the networks of the Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals.
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