With 162 MLB games in a regular season, it gets complicated trying to tune into every game. And you know this quite well if you have a favorite team, but find yourself scrambling regularly to figure out just where and when to watch.
Hopefully I can help with that headache. Here's a comprehensive listing of how to watch all your favorite MLB team's games throughout the regular season (and any other team for that matter). Whether it be via local TV, cable, online, mobile, or through the nifty workaround of Slingbox streaming, these options below cover all the MLB options available:
Those Living In Market:
The most straight forward of all the options is watching your local team's games on your local TV service. And whether that be from cable, satellite or digital rabbit ears, here's how MLB broadcasting works in the regular season, on a weekly basis:
- Sunday afternoon: TBS or local station
- Sunday night: ESPN or local station
- Monday night: ESPN or local station
- Tuesday night: local station only
- Wednesday night: ESPN or local station
- Thursday: MLB Network or local station
- Friday: local station only
- Saturday: FOX or local station
This is thankfully not market dependent. It's a very reliable guide to understanding how the interplay between broadcasting partners with the MLB works. There are some exceptions though; likely only a handful throughout the year, but use the National Broadcast Schedule from MLB's website to completely verify every single game's TV availability throughout the entire season, for any season.
Biggest issue with this is if you only have a digital tuner (rabbit ears that only get you local channels) you will be hard pressed to watch games beyond Saturday night (as FOX is typically the only station that a digital tuner will pick up.) Maybe you luck out with a great tuner that gets local stations that broadcast local games, but probably not.
In that case, you need to make sure you have the appropriate cable/satellite subscription package. Keep in mind, they aren't all created equal. For details on that option, continue below to 'out of market' options.
Those Living Out of Market:
Nationally broadcast MLB games. Now that's the most popular and simple way to find and watch a game. And ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FOX Sports 1, TBS and MLB Network are the places to go to watch. Of course you will need a cable or satellite subscription that includes all of these channels. So make sure if you want to watch all nationally broadcast games that your subscription package includes ALL of these channels.
Official Broadcast Schedule from MLB.com. You can use the 'Choose Club' dropdown in the right hand corner to filter the list to show your favorite team's game schedule. This will show date and times, station, and who's home and who's away.
Keep in mind once again, far from every game will be here. These will be the games the big networks decided to pay for.
So far, you now know how to watch any locally televised game, as well as all nationally broadcasted. But that only gets you so far. Simply put, you won't be able to watch EVERY single MLB game out there without some online streaming....
The final piece to the puzzle is online streaming. If you simply can't find your favorite team's game airing locally or nationally (as this inevitably will happen from time to time), you will need to consider signing up for an MLB streaming option. Also, if you don't have or want anything to do with a monthly cable bill, but still want to watch baseball, these options are for you.
- MLB.TV is the sanctioned choice here, and it is quite good. Just not perfect. Allow me to give pros and cons:
The Good --- For a relativity low monthly fee, you can stream almost every single regular reason MLB game, from almost any device. They have several useful features too: HD, home and away feed options, additional audio overlay.. stuff like that. Very well made.
The Bad --- For a monthly fee, this service only allows you to stream out-of-market games. So the service 'blacks-out' local games from streaming to you. It does this by determining your location via your IP address, and disables your ability to watch your local teams. They do this to avoid a fight between the big networks that paid for that game's rights to broadcast, hoping you will tune into their channel instead. Exclusivity rights at their best, or worst really.
Cost: MLB.TV will run you $19.99/month, or $39.99/year to stream on your PC or TV (via a smart TV feature that has the MLB application built in). If you want to stream on a mobile device or tablet, the monthly is $24.99, yearly $49.99.
- Slingbox TV streaming is your workaround to blackouts. OR a way for you to watch your home TV service on any internet capable device on the go, whichever way works best for you. Consider this the alternative to MLB.TV, either way.
Best part about Slingbox service is there is NO monthly service charge. You purchase whichever Slingbox streamer that works best for your needs, and that's it. Just the one time cost for the equipment. On their site they say:
You already pay for a cable or satellite subscription. But only by adding Slingbox can you take it anywhere in the world without additional monthly fees.
If you don't have traditional cable TV, there are online options that don't require signing any contract, and all the above also offer free trial periods. This is a great solution for MLB fans just looking to get access to channels like ESPN, TBS, FOX and the general local programming channels just during baseball season. Bonus, you get many more channels than that, which you might end up also using and appreciating for reasonable monthly price ranging from $19.99-$44.99.
You will still run into the problem sometimes of in market/out of market black games depending on your location. But if you want a simple way to ensure you get access to a majority of televised games, and all the nationally aired ones, you really can't go wrong with one of those options.
As for the pros and cons of each, I would recommend SlingTV as the least expensive option. YoutubeTV and HuluTV are very similar, have a wider selection of channels and are about the same price. So just depends on what company you prefer there. And if you have a PS3 or PS4, you might really appreciate the ease of access of the Vue option, though its slightly the most expensive.
And to get around blacked out games that are local, consider sending your Slingbox player to a friend in another market. Now this would only work if you can pull that off. But it is a nifty workaround, and would then grant you true access to 100% of all MLB games, on the go, for the cost of a cable subscription.
Those are all the options for viewing your favorite MLB Team's games. The choices are many, and varied. But where there's a will, with all these options, there is definitely a way. Enjoy the watching, and may the Rangers figure out a way into the post season.