Spring is here, the days are sunnies and Major League Baseball is back.
2019 The MLB season begins earlier than ever: Thursday, March 28. From the Yankees and Orioles to the Reds and Pirates, all 30 major league teams play on the opening day, start the six-month marathon of 162 matches that is the regular season.
Previously, you needed a cable or satellite subscription (or season ticket) to watch your favorite team day and day out. This year, however, baseball fans that arecan also stream the action live or record them to their cloud DVRs, in the spring, summer and fall.
So where do you start? It depends on which team you follow and where you live.
Live TV streaming service vs. MLB.TV
There are two important ways to stream MLB games without cable or satellite TV subscription:
- Subscribe to a live TV streaming service such as Sling TV Blue, Fubo TV or YouTube TV (starting at $ 25 per month)
- Subscribe to MLB.TV ($ 25 / month or $ 119 / year)
Depending on where you live, one of the greatcarry the channel that has your favorite team. These channels, called Regional Sports Networks (RSN), deliver almost all regular seasonal games live.
The disadvantages? Not every such service carries any RSN, and some teams are not available on any live TV service. There's also the price: only Sling TV Blue costs $ 25, while the rest is $ 40 and up.
The second option is MLB.TV, a separate service that carries every game played by each team living. It's good for hardcore fans in general.
The big catch with MLB.TV is the local blackout restriction: You can't watch your local team's game live. Instead, they will be available about 90 minutes after the game ends. For example, if you are a Yankees fan in the New York area, you can't start watching the Yankees game up to an hour and a half after the playoff. Other teams games are not black out, so it makes MLB.TV ideal for fans who want to follow one or more of the 28 or 29 teams based in other cities, even if they are out in the market.
Live TV streaming: Best for home team fans
Due to MLB.TV's blackout restriction, a live TV streaming service is the best way to follow your local team.
Many services carry the regional sports network (RSN) which has exclusive rights to each regular seasonal game. And most carry– ESPN, Fox, FS1, MLB Network and TBS – who regularly match TV from different teams around the league.
Here's how RSNs look at each service.
RSN availability by team and streaming service
|Team||Regional Sports Network (RSN) Name||Sling Blue ($ 25)||YouTube TV ($ 40)||Fubo TV ($ 45)||Hulu with Live TV ($ 45)||PS Vue ($ 45)||DirecTV now ($ 50)|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Fox Sports Arizona||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Atlanta Braves||Fox Sports South||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Boston Red Sox||NESN||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||No|
|Chicago Cubs||NBC Sports Chicago||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Chicago White Sox||NBC Sports Chicago||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cincinnati Reds||Fox Sports Ohio||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Cleveland Indians||SportsTime Ohio||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Colorado Rockies||AT & T SportsNet Rocky Mountain||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Detroit Tigers||Fox Sports Detroit||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Houston Astros||AT & T SportsNet Southwest||No||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Kansas City Royals||Fox Sports Kansas City||No||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Los Angeles Angels||Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Spectrum SportsNet LA||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Miami Marlins||Fox Sports Florida||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Fox Sports Wisconsin||No||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Minnesota Twins||Fox Sports North||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|New York Mets||SNY||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|New York Yankees||YES||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Oakland Athletics||NBC Sport California||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Philadelphia Phillies||NBC Sport Philadelphia||No||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||AT & T SportsNet Pittsburgh||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|San Diego Padres||Fox Sports San Diego||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|San Francisco Giants||NBC Sports Bay Area||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Seattle Mariners||Root Sports Northwest||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Fox Sports Midwest||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Fox Sports Sun||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Texas Rangers||Fox Sports Southwest||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes||Yes|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Sportsnet||No||No||No||No||No||No|
Some important takeaways:
- None of the services carry the RSN for the Baltimore Orioles, the Colorado Rockies, the Los Angeles Dodgers, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Seattle Mariners, the Toronto Blue Jays and the Washington Nationals. To look at these teams, you need cable, satellite, MLB.TV or other solution.
- The above RSNs are usually only available to local subscribers. See the service details (below) to find out that you live in a place where you can get a certain RSN.
- Sling TVs RSNs are only available to customers with Sling Blue who lack ESPN. Sling Orange customers receive no RSN numbers (or Fox or FS1), but can watch national games on ESPN.
- The only service with the Houston Astros game is Fubo TV. Unfortunately, it lacks ESPN.
- YouTube TV is the only service that carries the MLB Network in its basic package. The others charge more or do not carry it at all.
Disclosures: CNET may receive a share of the revenue from the sale of the products on this page.
YouTube TV ($ 40)
YouTube TV costs $ 40 per month and includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, MLB Network and TBS. It is the cheapest option if you want all the networks that carry national baseball broadcasts. Connect your zip code to their welcome page to see which local networks and RSN are available in your area.
Sling TV ($ 25 or $ 40)
Sling TV's Orange Plan contains ESPN and ESPN2, and the Blue Plan includes Fox and FS1. Both plans offer TBS but do not offer MLB Network either. You can combine the Orange and Blue plans together to increase your baseball viewing options. The individual plans usually cost $ 25 a month each but are currently discounted at $ 15 a month for the first three months. Similarly, the included Orange & Blue plan usually costs $ 40 per month, but you can get it for three months for $ 25 a month. See which local channels and RSN are in your area here.
Hulu with Live TV ($ 45)
Hulu with Live TV costs $ 45 per month and includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and TBS but not MLB Network. Click on the link "Show all channels in your area" on their welcome page to see which local networks and RSN are located where you live.
PlayStation Vue ($ 45)
PlayStation Vues $ 45 access plan includes ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and TBS. The $ 50 monthly monthly plan adds the MLB Network. See which local channels and RSN you come here.
DirecTV Now ($ 50)
DirecTV Now, the cheapest, plus $ 50 monthly package is ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1 and TBS. However, neither the Plus nor the $ 70 per month Max package contains the MLB network. You can use its channel search tool to see which local channels and RSN are in your area.
All live TV streaming services above offer free testing, let you cancel at any time and require a solid Internet connection. Looking for more information?.