MLB blackouts should be ended


NFL broadcasts, which are generally televised nationally, get to maintain certain in-market, choice games. On the other hand, teams across the MLB have their own networks for regional areas. When trying to watch games out of the market, fans typically won’t get access to those games on TV. In response to this issue, this year, there were additions to streaming and watching MLB games, including Apple TV+, Peacock and even Amazon Prime Video. 


During the regular season, Apple TV+ featured pitcher Max Scherzer’s debut with the New York Mets. Sadly, fans without Apple TV+ weren’t able to catch his debut live, as it was exclusively being carried only on that streaming network. In response, fans were enraged and they complained on social media about the game’s place on Apple TV+ and not their local cable networks. 


Unfortunately, not all out-of-market fans will get to see their favorite teams play. In certain states around the country, like Iowa, as many as six teams are subject to blackout rules. If a fan lives in the New York area and doesn’t want cable, teams like the Mets and Yankees won’t be available to be streamed. The same goes for fans living in Los Angeles, where the Dodgers and Angels will not be available to watch 


The full reasoning for blackouts is that first, cable providers desire to have exclusive broadcasting and streaming rights to local networks. Ultimately, MLB wants to get their fans in person for attendance purposes. 


For restricted states that don’t have a team in their states or near their state, getting out and going to a stadium isn’t that easy. For example, states like Iowa, Nevada, and Hawaii ultimately suffer. The closest ballparks there require either a long drive or a flight to the stadium, making a reliable source for those areas or states with no local teams. 


The question for MLB fans is this: when are blackouts going to end? Thankfully, teams will be able to negotiate their streaming rights with the owners’ vote. The rights will be voted on to those who are not related to TV blackouts. This will make streaming in the future easier for the fans to be able to watch their teams, especially via certain services, but it won’t change the blackout situation entirely unfortunately. 


With that said will likely remain unchanged for its in-market-fans. Fortunately, things are going in the right direction to stop blackouts around the country. Teams will act individually on negotiations with their providers, though there is no scheduled timetable yet on when they decide to sell off these rights and what these specific rights entail.