Local streaming options are coming to 15 Major League Baseball markets for the 2016 season according to SportsBusiness Journal. The MLB and FOX Sports are nearing an agreement that would offer local streaming of live games.
With this new agreement between the MLB and FOX, Detroit Tigers fans will be able to access live games on foxsportsdetroit.com or on the FOX Sports Go app available on smart phones and tablets.
This will not only be available in Detroit but all 15 current markets where FOX Sports broadcast live baseball games. The Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers, Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, San Diego Padres, St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Rays are the 14 other fan bases that will be able to watch games online under the new agreement.
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Although this is a major breakthrough, it doesn’t really solve the much bigger problem with the MLB streaming package: blackout restrictions
For readers unfamiliar with MLB TV, the Detroit Tigers cannot be streamed on the service in the state of Michigan or whenever they are on national television (ESPN, FOX Sports 1, etc.)
Tigers games also can’t be streamed when they are playing the team in your area. For instance, MCB co-editor Matt Pelc lives in Saint Cloud, Florida. When the Tigers play the Tampa Bay Rays, Pelc can’t use his subscription to MLB TV and watch the Tigers feed because it is blacked out. He is forced to watch the Rays broadcast on television.
The same goes for MCB staff writer Steve Mitzel, who lives in Suffield, Connecticut. When the Tigers play the Boston Red Sox, the Tigers feed is blacked out on MLB TV. The new agreement with FOX and MLB will not prevent this atrocity of having to listen to the other team’s announcers for three hours from happening!
Furthermore, for those fans who choose not to pay for cable (this includes your’s truly), they cannot watch the Tigers when they are on ESPN or FOX Sports 1. In that case, the Tigers are blacked out on MLB TV, so non-cable subscribers are reserved to calling their parents for their cable ID and password in order to watch the game on the ESPN app.
This new streaming agreement doesn’t help those people either. It actually only helps people who already have cable in the state of Michigan because in order to watch the Tigers on foxsportsdetroit.com, one has to already have a subscription.
So as nice as it might be for local fans to be able to watch the Tigers while away from their television sets in Michigan, us out-of-town fans are still waiting for someone to fix the blackout restrictions on MLB TV.