MLB.TV Is Missing The Mark
In 2016, it is evident that the days of cable television are numbered. “Cord cutters,” as they’ve become known, are moving from cable and satellite coverage to alternative methods. Roku, Amazon Fire, and Apple TV are amongst the top alternatives. They allow users to watch Netflix, Hulu and YouTube on their televisions, getting a ton of top options from cable. Sure, you lose out on some shows, but for the most part, you can get by – and it’s much cheaper.
SlingTV introduced a partnership with Dish Network that allows subscribers to watch History Channel, HGTV, and a few other leading networks. The biggest addition to Sling was ESPN. This was the final signatory on the walking papers for cable. ESPN has always been one of the top reasons people subscribe to cable; so much so that ESPN gets between $4 and $8 per subscriber each month on any given subscription. It’s by far the biggest profit obtaining cable network. With Sling, however, the writing on the wall became clearer.
It’s still rather expensive to watch ESPN via the app which costs $20 per month. However, if you have Sling, Netflix, and Hulu all on one box, you’re still only paying around $40 per month – much cheaper than the $100+ options from cable companies.
With a reliable internet connection, this is a viable option for almost anyone. My dad lives in the country, and I purchased a Roku for him several years ago (he disconnected his Dish because of the price), it’s been a great decision. He’s not the biggest fan of technology, but he loves this ability. For just pennies on the dollar, he gets pretty much everything he wants on his TV now. I’ve even got him watching YouTube!
With ESPN now on his Roku, I can enjoy sports whenever I’m over. It’s quite the setup.
However, there is one crucial thing missing. Major League Baseball.
MLB is my ultimate weakness and remains the reason I keep a DirecTV subscription of my own. I know, I could get MLBTV (which I do have) and be fine, right? Wrong. I’d miss out on my Cincinnati Reds games. Living “in-market” means I have to have Fox Sports Ohio to watch them, so I do.
This is the worst scheme in baseball right now. Yes, television contracts are huge and the biggest reason this remains the case. But I’m missing out on the opportunity to completely cut the cord and watch everything from AppleTV. Make this happen and it would actually become a dream come true.
However, I doubt this happens anytime soon.
MLB announced this year that you could purchase streams of single teams, not a bad idea. If I move to Georgia or California, I would totally jump on this offer. Oh wait, I wouldn’t have to. I’ve seen pricing figures estimated between $50 and $90. The lower end of that spectrum wouldn’t be too bad, though still silly. For $109 (the new figure after a law settlement) you can watch every game (out of market of course) and really enjoy the baseball season.
So the single team plans aren’t that great of a deal unless they drop it to $30 or something more in the ballpark of fair – so until that would happen, I’ll stick with the full plan.
Itis good to watch any team I want, anywhere I go. But the addition of in-market streaming is still a dream.
I highly doubt we see the full change for quite a few years. They’ll have to find some way to make up for the eventual lost revenue from TV deals. But if they’re paying attention to trends, they’d see that people are cutting cords anyway.
Within 5-10 years I see us being able to purchase in-market streaming for an extra $50-60, and I’d drop that coin in a heartbeat.
So for all of the cord cutters and MLBTV-ers alike, the pipe dream isn’t incredibly
far off. But it’s still further off than we’d like.