Baseball’s back, and Major League Baseball (MLB) has a healthy roster of different ways fans can watch and stream MLB online. Whether you want to watch baseball live free baseball online, a premium subscription package, or just the $3-per-month streaming package, MLB has a number of hot prospects this coming season for baseball-starved fans wondering how to watch baseball online. That includes fans whom are unwilling to buy a subscription or pay for cable, and are just looking to stream MLB games for free.
The MLB has always taken a large lead-off over the other major sports when it comes to streaming their regular season games. Major League Baseball was the first U.S. sport to stream all their regular season games live, beginning back in 2003. If you prefer to listen to MLB online there is an option for that as well. Let’s take a look at MLB’s numerous online streaming services, what each costs, and what the fine print of each service entails.
WATCH MLB ONLINE WITH MLB.TV
MLB.tv is an incredibly popular streaming video service that offers two different tiers of paid, live baseball streams. The standard MLB.tv service
streams MLB live HD video of all out-of-market baseball games to your computer, for $19.99 a month or $109.99 for the whole season. MLB.tv delivers complete games live or on demand afterwards, with a DVR-style set of controls for pausing or rewinding, plus Picture-in-Picture and Mosaic View modes that can play up to four games simultaneously -- ideal for the thoroughly-obsessed fantasy baseball fan. MLB.tv will not carry the 2013 playoffs, but it will carry the MLB All-Star Game
Save And Watch Your Favorite Baseball Videos
Download your favorite baseball videos online and save them in your personal video cloud. Then you can watch the video on your phone, tablet, and even TV.
If you want to watch MLB online using a smartphone or tablet, you’ll want to call up MLB.tv Premium
, which includes a free subscription to the MLB.com At Bat mobile app (Apple iOS and Android devices). So you can log in and watch games on your mobile device as well as your computer, and the subscription also lets you stream live baseball online using a XBox, PlayStation, or Roku set-top box
. For extra measure, MLB.tv Premium also offers viewers their choice of how they want to listen to MLB broadscast. Thy can either select the home or away announcing team, or radio broadcasters instead of TV announcers. The premium service costs $24.99 a month or $129.99 for the season. Be aware, mobile users, to check your data plan before streaming entire games, so your monthly wireless bill doesn’t get hit out of the park.
The main drawback to both versions of MLB.tv are the blackout restrictions, described by the Las Vegas Review-Journal
as “more convoluted than Abbott and Costello's classic ‘Who's on First?’ routine.” For example, MLB’s use of the phrase “watch every out-of-market game live” is puzzling since MLB defines “out-of-market game” in such a fashion that eliminates a staggering number of live game broadcasts from your paid subscription. Basically, you can never watch the MLB team nearest to you play live unless you are far away from your home market on vacation or travelling for business (Note: If your home team is playing a team that is in the market you’re visiting, you still can’t watch the game). If you have a home team, or if your home address falls within range of any local station carrying an MLB team’s games, you can’t watch that team’s games live online. This makes it challenging to watch live baseball online of your home team. However, 90 minutes after the game’s conclusion you’ll be able to watch it. If you want to know which teams’ games you can’t watch live on MLB.tv, take a look at this U.S. map of all MLB teams’ broadcast restriction areas
Pretty excessive, huh? Consider the state of Iowa, which six – six!
– MLB teams claim as their home territory, even though are no MLB teams located in Iowa. Not a single inch of the continental U.S. is untouched by Major League Baseball broadcast restrictions. This all makes watching Major League Baseball live online a bit complicated, so maybe we should point out that they also provide some pretty nice things, absolutely free.
WATCH MLB ONLINE FREE
MLB.tv offers a little treat called the “Free Game of the Day,” and it is precisely what it sounds like. You may have even accessed this feature to watch a 2013 Spring Training game online
. Each day of the MLB regular season, one of the MLB.tv games will be available on a live HD video stream that lets you watch MLB free. Take a look at the MLB.tv game schedule
, and you’ll see that one of today’s games is marked “Free Game of the Day.” You will be required to register a MLB.tv account and log in to see the free game. Note: The regional blackout restrictions still apply – so not all locations are able to watch each day’s free game.
WATCH MLB ONLINE ON ESPN
Maybe you’re a casual baseball fan who would be happy to watch just a couple big, nationally televised games each week. If so, ESPN streams a game or two per week on WatchESPN
, the site that lets you watch ESPN online
. You’ll need to log in with an active cable TV subscription to access the WatchESPN live MLB games, so they’re not available for free to everyone. If you do subscribe to cable, though, the games streamed on WatchESPN are available to you as a free courtesy. WatchESPN will stream Sunday Night Baseball games every Sunday evening of the 2013 regular season.
LISTEN TO MLB ONLINE
The most affordable options for live baseball games are the audio-only streams. You can listen to MLB online live on your computer with MLB GameDay Audio
, a streaming service that delivers your choice of home or away radio announcers for every MLB game. MLB Gameday Audio is $2.99 for a monthly subscription, or $19.99 for the entire 2013 season. There are no regional blackouts on MLB Gameday Audio, and you get every single game of the 2013 MLB season – including playoffs and the World Series.
Apple and Android mobile users can also access audio of these games with the MLB At Bat app
. This year the MLB At Bat 13 app works across multiple platforms – so if you’re like me and have an Android phone and an iPad tablet, or vice versa, you don’t need to pay two fees for each separate platform. The app is free to download, but the to listen to MLB online the live game audio costs $2.99 a month or $19.99 for the whole 2013 MLB season. MLB At Bat also comes with an animated graphic of the batter at the plate, complete with a pitch tracker and an accurate visual representation of the batter and the ballpark where the game is being played.
Have you ever watched games on an animated game tracker? Do you have any regional broadcast restriction horror stories? Will the San Francisco Giants repeat as champions, or will it be the beaten-up New York Yankees, the realigned-to-the-AL Houston Astros, or another team? Call ‘em as you see ‘em in the comments section below.