If you miss the crack of the bat and the pop of the glove, there’s no need to miss them any longer. Baseball is back and 2013 Spring Training is online, with games available both live and on demand. Major League Baseball (MLB) is streaming both Cactus League (Arizona) and Grapefruit League (Florida) action, so fans can watch Spring Training games live on their computer, tablet, or mobile device.
Only a tiny handful of Spring Training games will be broadcasted on television, but online viewers can choose from more than 200 Spring Training games being played every day between now and the end of Spring Training on March 30, 2013. Best of all, there are no blackout restrictions on any games on the Spring Training schedule – so you can see them online whether you’re watching from Bangalore, India or from right next door to the ballpark in Arizona or Florida.
Major League Baseball is offering three separate paid services allowing you to catch Spring Training games online. One of these options offer radio broadcasts only. Another is an affordable video streaming service that will stream live HD video of Spring Training games on your computer. The third is a premium service that will stream the games on your computer, tablet, smartphone, and certain gaming consoles – plus gives you a choice of home team or away team announcers. All of these services offer the games on demand after their completion – plus full access to replays of all games from the 2012 MLB regular season.
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WATCH SPRING TRAINING ONLINE
MLB provides two separate paid streaming services to watch Spring Training games online. Both are available for an affordable monthly rate, or an all-season subscription that covers both Spring Training and the entire 2013 MLB regular season – plus an MLB All-Star Game livestream available in July. Not every single Spring Training game will be broadcast, but more than 200 Spring Training games are available, with your choice of as many as 15 games to choose from on any given day of Spring Training.
The basic, more affordable service is called MLB.tv, and it streams games in HD for both Spring Training and the regular season. MLB.tv subscribers can watch the games live – with their own personal set of pause and rewind DVR-style controls – or on demand after the games are finished. Viewers can watch the game on full screen, or two simultaneous games with a “Picture in Picture” view, or as many as four games simultaneously in Mosaic view – a very handy feature for the fantasy baseball buff. MLB.tv costs $19.99 for a monthly subscription, or $109.99 for the entire Spring Training and regular season package.
Heavy hitters may be more interested in the fully-loaded MLB.tv Premium – the only way to stream mobile video of live games to your iPhone, iPad, and a wide array of Android devices. We should note that if you plan on streaming the games over a wireless device, be sure to check out your wireless data plan first so you don’t end up with bill-shock or stream the games over a WiFi network. MLB.tv Premium comes with all the benefits of MLB.tv, plus mobile device access to games, and the ability to stream games via your Xbox, PlayStation, or Roku set-top box. Premium subscribers also get their choice of home team or away team announcers, and a free one-year subscription to this year’s version of MLB At Bat. A one-month subscription to MLB.tv Premium is $24.99, and the full season subscription is $129.99.
More than $100 for a season-long subscription might sound like a lot of money – but have you ever tabulated how much you spend at one single Major League Baseball game when you add up your tickets, parking, and concessions?
LISTEN TO 2013 SPRING TRAINING ONLINE
No sport sounds better on the radio than baseball. There’s just something about radio baseball announcers that reminds you of granddad, apple pie, and the way baseball ought to be played. Thanks to the magic of the Internet, you can access the official radio broadcasts of any game with MLB Gameday Audio. MLB GameDay Audio carries most (but not all) Spring Training games, and then every single regular season game – with your pick of the home or away announcing teams, and no blackout restrictions for any games. MLB Gameday Audio gives you radio broadcasts for Spring Training, the full 2013 regular season, the playoffs, and the World Series – all for just $19.99.
Mobile-only listeners can get an even better bargain. MLB At Bat 13, this year’s sequel to the popular MLB At Bat app, delivers your choice of home or away radio broadcasts of any game overlaid upon a highly accurate 3-D video animation of the action at the batter’s box. MLB At Bat 13 works across all your mobile devices with just one subscription, plus offers video highlights and detailed widgets providing all manner of real time statistics. MLB At Bat 13 is $2.99 for a monthly subscription (Apple iOS users only), or $19.99 for the whole 2013 season. Features vary by device, so check the link above before purchasing to see what options your mobile device will deliver.
SPRING TRAINING SCHEDULE
You won’t get every single Spring Training game with MLB.tv or MLB Gameday Audio, but you do get quite a few of them. More than 200 Spring Training games are available through MLB.tv, and even more are broadcast on GameDay Audio. Take a look at the online roster of which Spring Training games are on MLB.tv to determine which games will offer a live HD video stream. If you’re an audio listener, each day’s available games are posted on the MLB GameDay Audio schedule page.
Major League Baseball has notoriously restrictive regional blackout rules that have once been described by ESPN as “so dizzyingly complex as to make a tax attorney weep.” Fortunately, none of those blackout rules are in effect for Spring Training – any Spring Training game being broadcast is available to viewers or listeners.
Do you miss baseball enough to buy a Spring Training package? Have you used MLB.tv or MLB At Bat before? What did you think of them? Aim for the strike zone with your opinions in the comments section below.