Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies living outside the local market could benefit from changes to MLB.tv in the coming 2016 season.
Per an article today by Dan Norton at the Philadelphia Business Journal, a new package is being prepared for release by Major League Baseball which will allow streaming of games for just a single team at a reduced price. To this point, fans had to pay for games of every team.
The current package advertised at the MLB.tv website is priced at $129.99 per year, which allows subscribers to view every 2016 out-of-market game, either “live” or on-demand, on more than 400 devices including a PC or Mac, iPhone, iPad, PlayStation, XBOX, Amazon Fire, TiVo, Android, and numerous others.
This package also includes all “live” Spring Training games from both Florida and Arizona. There is also a current “Off-Season” package priced at $24.99 which allows viewing full game archives of every 2015 MLB regular season and postseason game, as well as 250+ select 2016 Spring Training games on these same devices.
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Currently, this single-team plan is not going to help local Phillies fans. The current MLB blackout policy prohibits web streaming of Phillies games within this local market, which is restricted to cable or satellite systems only. The Phils game broadcasts, controlled contractually by Comcast, are among 15 teams still under such restrictions.
The bizjournals.com piece reports that the NHL provides single-team streaming at below its regular package price. That NHL “GameCenter Live” full package is priced currently at $131.49 for the full season. The single-team option prices at $105.09, but as with MLB, there are no local in-market games, so only Flyers fans outside the Philly market would benefit. The MLB.tv single-team pricing has not yet been announced.
Streaming of sports games and seasons remains a developing product. Television networks that pay large fees for exclusive broadcast rights to the games already are inevitably going to share, but as with Comcast, that sharing will come at a price, and will have to be negotiated before all fans get a full benefit.
For now, Phillies fans in the local market will continue to see all games on Comcast, or via a national television network. Out-of-market Phillies fans can, however, purchase the full MLB.tv plan, or wait for details and purchase the single-team plan and select the Fightins as their team.