Die-hard baseball fans are in a frenzy because the 2019 baseball season is in full swing. In fact, this season is set to be one of the most intense in baseball history.
If you were tuned in to the previous off-season, you know that Manny Machado and Bryce Harper accepted record-breaking deals. Essentially, this baseball season will put those historic contracts to the ultimate test.
With over 2,430 scheduled games this season, it’s hard to decide where and how you should watch your favorite teams and games. Well, unless you’re planning to watch the games live at the stadium, you can enjoy them from the comfort of your living room. There are two services that will put you at the very center of the field — MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings.
Let’s find out more about what each service offers and help you make the right decision.
MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings?
If you only want to watch teams from your area, your cable provider should have you covered. However, be sure to check with them to see if your plan includes regional sports networks. If not, you might have to switch to a different plan.
To stay up to date with all out-of-market games, MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings will provide you with that baseball fix you crave.
MLB Extra Innings is a standalone baseball package that offers 80 to 90 games every week. Basically, you’ll get access to all out-of-market games, except the games that are broadcast by other networks, such as ESPN. You can get MLB Extra Innings through your cable company or satellite service provider.
On the other hand, MLB.TV is an Internet streaming service that offers two different streaming options. You can pay a lower price to watch the coverage of a single team, or pay extra to get access to all the games that are not played in your market.
Ultimately, it all comes down to where you live, which teams you want to watch, and how much money you are willing to spend.
MLB Extra Innings
Should You Subscribe to MLB Extra Innings?
MLB Extra Innings is available only through a cable plan or a satellite subscription as an add-on service. Essentially, you will get coverage of teams in your local area and coverage of out-of-market games, but at a hefty price tag.
MLB Extra Innings is a bit more expensive than MLB.TV. Are you asking yourself if it is worth it? To help you decide if you should subscribe to this service, here is a list of the most basic features:
- All games not in your market are included
- Access to the MLB Network
- Watch multiple games simultaneously
- You can add it to your current cable plan or satellite subscription
- Broadcasts are in HD and 4K
In order to get access to all the games, you just need to subscribe to MLB Extra Innings through your cable company or satellite service provider.
However, the price is one of the main drawbacks. Be prepared to pony up the dough because your cable or satellite bill will go up. On the flip side, if you are a devoted baseball fan who wants total access and the ability to watch more than one game at the same time, MLB Extra Innings is definitely your best bet.
Here is a list of all the major cable and satellite service providers that include MLB Extra Innings in their offers.
Which Providers Offer MLB Extra Innings?
DIRECTV’s most basic package includes distribution of all regional sports networks in your area. That will cover your local teams. To get access to all out-of-market games, subscribe to MLB Extra Innings through your existing plan.
By choosing the cheapest plan and adding MLB Extra Innings to it, you will save money. If you are already paying around $178 to access it, why not keep some extra dough in your pockets by getting the cheapest satellite package? Be smart with your money.
Consider yourself lucky if XFINITY cable services are available in your area. Compared to the prices over at DIRECTV, with XFINITY, you will save more than $10 on MLB Extra Innings.
Obviously, $10 is not a lot of money. So, why not use the extra cash to buy some more beer instead of giving it to a cable company? Overall, you will have to pay around $164 for the entire 2019 MLB season.
Cheaper is always better, right? So, before you decide if you should go with MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you’ll first have to choose between DISH or DIRECTV. In the context of “all-you-can-watch” baseball, DISH’s pricing is lower compared with DIRECTV’s. Because of that, DISH is the obvious choice for many.
Similar to DIRECTV, just purchase any package that DISH has in store and then add to it your MLB Extra Innings subscription. The price is $165 flat for full season coverage. This deal is $12 cheaper compared with what you get from DIRECTV. Now, for that kind of extra money, you could get yourself some snacks that pair well with your beer.
Is MLB Extra Innings the Right Choice for You?
MLB Extra Innings is the obvious choice for those who already have a plan with DIRECTV, DISH, or XFINITY. You will get coverage of your local teams and out-of-market games. So, by combining MLB Extra Innings and your cable plan, or adding it to your satellite package, you’ll have full access to all of the games.
On the flip side, MLB.TV has an obvious downside because it does not offer live coverage of teams in your area.
Is MLB.TV Right for You?
MLB.TV is one of the best subscription-based streaming services for streaming games that are not in your local market. The best thing about it is that you don’t have to buy a cable plan or pay for a satellite subscription. All you need is a phone or a computer with a fast Internet connection.
Here are some quick stats about this service:
- Available for streaming on most devices
- You get up to 80 out-of-market games with the “All Teams” plan or coverage of a single team with the “Single Team” plan
- No coverage of local teams
- Live streaming in HD only
MLB.TV Subscription Plans
With MLB.TV, you have two types of subscription plans to choose from: “All Teams” and “Single Team.” The “All Teams” option costs $118.99 a year or monthly $24.99, while the “Single Team” option is $91.99 yearly.
In addition, MLB.TV offers a “free game of the day” stream on Facebook and other similar platforms, or at MLB.com.
So, how are these two options similar, and how are they different?
Single Team Plan
There is an obvious reason the “Single Team” subscription is cheaper than the “All Teams” option. With the “Single Team” subscription, you have to choose one team that is not in your market and stream only that team’s games. So, if you are not interested in watching other teams, get this plan.
In comparison, MLB Extra Innings doesn’t offer this kind of flexibility.
All Teams Plan
The “All Teams” plan is for those hardcore fans who think that coverage of only one team is just not enough. If you want full access to all the games that are not in your market, you’ll get it with this plan. The “All Teams” plan costs about $30 more than the “Single Team” plan on a yearly basis.
This option is similar to the MLB Extra Innings subscription but without local team coverage.
Should You Subscribe to MLB.TV?
If you already have a satellite or cable subscription, or if you want to watch teams from your area, MLB.TV might not be the right choice for you. You won’t be able to watch your favorite local teams with MLB.TV because of blackouts.
Since this is an Internet streaming service, it’s perfect for those who aren’t subscribed to cable or satellite services or who want to watch their favorite teams on the go. If you get MLB.TV, you can stream games on your mobile phone. However, streaming is only allowed on one device at a time, so — no sharing.
Also, keep in mind that you will need a fast Internet connection to stream games flawlessly. Since all games are broadcast and streamed only in HD, make sure your Internet is fast enough to handle the load.
Also, be wary of Internet data caps. If your Internet comes with a monthly data cap, you’ll have to be careful not to exceed your monthly allowance. So, think twice about subscribing to MLB.TV if your Internet is slow or limited in any other way.
You might not be happy about the next part, but you should know all the facts before you make a commitment to one of these two services. Have you ever experienced a blackout before the start of a game? If you have, then you know how frustrating it can be. You are eagerly waiting for the game to start and then nothing — a black screen.
Why Do Blackouts Happen?
Blackouts happen when a game is not allowed to be broadcast live in your area. Occasionally, they can occur on the national level. So, what’s the deal with them anyway?
Basically, baseball teams sign contracts with a local sports network to distribute their games to the people living in that particular market. For example, the New York Yankees have an exclusive deal with the YES Network to broadcast all their games. However, some games are broadcast nationally over FOX or ESPN.
If you reside in New York and only have a subscription to MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings, you won’t have access to the games played by the Mets or the Yankees. That’s because regional sports networks have a rather protected status in the local media market. Simply put, regional sports networks have priority over services such as MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings.
However, if you live outside the home market of a particular team, either service will work just fine. For instance, if you are a Yankees fan who lives in Texas, you’ll be able to follow your favorite team’s game results without blackouts.
Any Solutions to the Blackout Problem?
The blackout issue has long been frustrating people who wish to drop their traditional distributors such as DISH or DIRECTV and switch to online streaming services. However, in certain markets that have FOX regional sports networks, fans can stream games of their local teams. But, the catch is that you need to log in with the credentials provided to you by your provider. Ultimately, that means that you need a subscription to their services.
All in all, keep in mind that blackouts happen only during live broadcasts. In most cases, you will still be able to watch the game, but a couple of hours later as a recording.
How to Find the List of Blacked-Out Games
Blackouts are enforced based on ZIP codes. If you want to check out the list of blacked-out games in the ZIP code area that you live in, head over to MLB.com. Once there, you’ll find the blackout restriction form. Simply type in the ZIP code of your area, and you’ll get the full list of blacked-out games in your region.
Also, you can check which games will be blacked out on the national level.
Enjoy the Season
Choosing the best service provider or streaming package to watch your favorite baseball team can be frustrating and nonetheless expensive. If you are only interested in watching your favorite local teams, there is obviously no reason to spend extra money on add-on services. Your standard cable plan or satellite package will do.
But, if money is not your main issue, then choose one of these great options. You won’t regret it because you will have full unlimited access. The best combination is a cable or satellite package for local team coverage, and one of the add-on services for out-of-market games.
However, when you do make up your mind — MLB.TV or MLB Extra Innings — don’t forget to enjoy the 2019 MLB season. It’s sure to bring action you won’t want to miss out on.