In a move that is (maybe) good news for Colorado Rockies fans outside of Denver, and others who purchase MLB.tv to watch their one favorite out-of-market team, Major League Baseball will begin offering single-team streaming as an option for 2016, according to a report published Tuesday in FanGraphs.
Currently, of course, MLB.tv represents an all-or-nothing proposition for baseball fans wanting to watch out-of-market games; for a single rate — $129.99 in 2015 — fans are given access to every single out-of-market game across the country every day throughout the season. The only exceptions, of course, are local blackouts; Denver-area fans cannot watch Rockies games on MLB.tv since they are broadcast locally.
Now, according to Nathaniel Grow, a recent antitrust court filing aimed at baseball's broadcasting practices has opened up a new option to follow one out-of-market team for what will likely be a cheaper rate than the current plan. In Garber vs. The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball, Grow found a key point buried in the document:
"beginning next season MLB will make single-team, out-of-market streams available for purchase (alongside the out-of-market package) on MLB.TV."
What does this mean for Rockies fans? Well, maybe something, and maybe nothing.
If you're a fan outside of the Denver market and only care about who the Rockies are playing, the single-team package is a great option to follow only Rockies games, and ought to be less expensive than the all-or-nothing current version of MLB's streaming. Unfortunately, though, judging by recent precedent in the NHL, single-team streaming may not end up being significantly cheaper.
If you're a Rockies fan in the Denver market, this news means very little; you can't watch Rockies games on MLB.tv right now, anyways, and it does not appear single-team streaming will change the league's blackout restrictions. (Though if you have one other team besides the Rockies you follow heavily, you could use the new option for that.)
For others, single-team streaming is a nice wrinkle in the MLB.tv world, but it's difficult to imagine not having access to all 30 teams. There are few feelings better than, on a day when the Rockies are off or playing at night, flipping on MLB.tv in the middle of the afternoon and being able to see the White Sox playing the Rays in a meaningless getaway day rubber match. (Or maybe that's just me?)
Major League Baseball has yet to announce prices for MLB.tv's full streaming, their new single-team option, or for MiLB.tv. We'll keep you updated with that and related information as more becomes available.