MLB.TV Expects To Do Away With Blackout Restrictions Sooner Than You Think

At last week's Streaming Media East show, we had many of the largest content owners in attendance and I got to spend a little bit of time with many of them hearing more details about their business. One of the many things I learned was that MLB expects to be able to resolve the online blackout restrictions for their MLB.TV service sooner than people may imagine. While no timeline was given, MLB made it clear that they think they can resolve the issue and that there is enough money to go around to pay everyone to make it possible to get in market games through their online video offering, sooner rather then later.

Doing away with blackout restrictions is essential in order for MLBAM to take their business to the next level of growth. Right now, MLB.TV is missing a huge percentage of the market who would not get MLB.TV simply because they don't travel and don't need to follow their team outside of their viewing area. The moment MLBAM can open the service up to anyone who wants to follow their team outside of the TV set, the size of the market that MLB.TV can go after increases dramatically. While some may say that it's about time MLBAM finds a way around this, keep in mind they have been pushing for this for years. It's not as if MLBAM has been blind to the problem and Bob Bowman told me last week that of all calls to the support center for MLB.TV, not surprisingly, blackout restrictions are the number one complaint.

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  • DLB

    My access to Orioles games is blacked out on MLB.TV and I’m accessing it from the Myrtle Beach area! I can’t get MLB to look at a map and see that I’m near Wilmington NC, not Wilmington Delaware! They claim to use an IP address to make the decision. If they did, and their system was properly programmed, I’d have no problem.

  • http://www.backporchview.com Andrew

    If not for the blackout restrictions I would pay for MLB.tv. I don’t care to have cable or satellite so it would be nice to be able to watch my beloved Detroit Tigers & I would gladly pay for the privilege.

  • Chris

    You know, it’s actually pretty rediculous. I was checking out the Postseason.TV offering for $9.95 that mlb.com is advertising, where you can watch all of the playoff games and the world series. I don’t have cable because I feel I do not want to pay for something I rarely watch. However, I do like to watch baseball. So I call them up only to find out that because I am three hours north of the Bronx, I cannot watch the Yankee games. So, ok fine, same reason I didn’t purchase the season coverage. Then the customer service rep says that at any second, there could be a national blackout restriction. Hmmmmm, the product is only available in the USA, and a national blackout means nobody can watch the games on mlb.com….is it just me or are they offering a prodcut that virtually and potentially nobody in the country could use?? Just a thought.

  • Doug

    I live in Winston-Salem NC and here Braves, Nationals, Oriels, and Reds are blacked out, all of which are about 5 hours away. I’m a Phillies fan and am very upset there is absolutely no way to watch Phils@Nats games. I don’t care about not seeing Oriels at home, and the braves are available on TV. But common, its 5 hours to DC and there is no way to get these games, not on cable, sat, or at bars. If I was a Reds, Nats, or Os fan I would have to stop following my team, move or drive multiple hours to watch every home game. It’s ridiculous.

  • Brandon

    For me, the blackout restrictions make the difference of this being entirely worthless and I’d never buy the service, to being something I couldn’t imagine being without.

  • jamesdurum

    You can use https://unlocator.com to bypass MLB restrictions

  • Jase

    Having all of Canada being a black out for the Blue Jays is beyond insanity, does mlb know how big the country is? I am a 30 hour drive away and am blacked out.