Baseball fans will now be able to get MLB Network, not only on their television, but on their computer and mobile devices. The network owned by Major League Baseball and their clubs today began providing an authenticated stream of its 24/7, baseball programming via MLB.com At Bat for smartphones and tablets and online at MLBNetwork.com. It marks the first time that a league-owned television sports network has offered live, authenticated stream of its programming on PC/Mac, iPhone, iPad and supported Android smartphones and tablets across multiple distributors.
All MLB Network studio shows, original programming, regular season, Postseason and Spring Training game telecasts, and analysis from the likes of Bob Costas, Peter Gammons, Al Leiter, Pedro Martinez, Harold Reynolds, Ken Rosenthal, John Smoltz and Tom Verducci, will be available.
There is a catch as cord-cutters will be unable to access the network show streaming. Like the FOX broadcasts of the postseason recently, and FOX Sports Go, those that wish to watch the stream of MLB Network will need to provide proof that they are a pay-TV subscriber. Eight of the top ten pay TV providers in the U.S., including AT&T T +0.46% U-verse TV, Bright House Networks, Cablevision/Optimum, Cox Communications , DirecTV, DISH, Time Warner Cable TWC +0.16%, and Verizon FiOS, will authenticate MLB Network subscribers via the MLB.com At Bat app and online at MLBNetwork.com. That would leave Comcast CMCSA +1% and Charter subscribers out of the mix, at least at the initial launch.
As of this morning, the stream will include all MLB Network studio shows, original programming, and regular season, Postseason and Spring Training game telecasts. MLB Advanced Media, the digital media company of Major League Baseball, that currently streams games daily, is providing the infrastructure to stream MLB Network.
The launch is ahead of tonight’s MLB Network Showcase telecast of the defending World Series champion San Francisco Giants at New York Mets at 7:00 p.m. ET, the HD-quality stream will be available via MLB.com At Bat and at MLBNetwork.com for viewers after they have logged in with their TV provider credentials.
For those wondering whether they will now somehow be able to get around the league’s TV blackout policy, think again. MLB Network states that as with MLB Network game telecasts, games watched via the authenticated stream will be subject to local blackouts depending on the user’s location. Users in areas subject to blackouts will be provided with an alternate game or other programming.