After being forced into a postponed and shortened season in 2020 by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball will return to something close to normal in 2021. We’re getting a full regular season of 162 games running from April 1 to October 3, and most teams allow a limited fan presence at their games.
Unfortunately for those of us watching at home, it might be more difficult to see our favorite teams in action. Over the past two years, Sling TV, FuboTV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV have each in turn dropped Sinclair’s regional Fox Sports networks from their lineups. Only the expensive AT&T TV streaming service will offer those channels, now rebranded as regional Bally Sports networks, in 2021
Updated March 31, 2021 for the current season.
That’s a major hurdle because unlike the NFL or NBA, MLB is largely a regional league, with most teams’ games broadcast on local cable networks such as Fox Sports San Diego or NBC Sports Bay Area. Fox Sports regional networks have regular season games for more than a dozen teams, and the fans of those teams will now have to spend $ 30 to $ 40 more a month to watch those games than they paid for any of the games. aforementioned streaming services.
As in previous years, nationally broadcast games will be further split between ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS and MLB Network. Of these, only Fox can be accessed over the air, but there are still ways to get the other four networks without an expensive cable plan. Let’s take a look at the possibilities.
Over the airwaves
Since broadcast baseball has largely gone the way of Sunday doubleheaders, there are few options for watching a game without some sort of subscription. However, the Fox network is still available for free with a good indoor antenna. That gives you access to a lot of nationally broadcast Saturday afternoon games.
If you are buying an antenna for the first time, don’t forget to check first which stations you can receive in your area and what type of antenna you will need to get your local Fox branch.
If you’ve recorded Fox broadcasts through an antenna, you can catch the rest of the MLB action with an AT&T TV subscription. Not only is it the only way to stream all Bally Sports Networks (formerly Fox Sports Regional Networks), it is also the service with the most regional sports network coverage overall, including the NBC Sports regional networks, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, New England Sports Network, YES Network and Spectrum SportsNet LA. It also provides ESPN, FS1, TBS and MLB network.
To get this abundance of baseball wealth, you need the “Choice” package for $ 85 a month. That also gives you 20 hours of cloud DVR storage that you can use to record games. You can upgrade to an unlimited number of recording hours for an additional $ 10 per month.
Sling TV offers ESPN, ESPN2, TBS, Fox and Fox Sports 1, as well as NBC Sports for local team broadcasts. However, if you want them all in one package, you’ll have to switch to the premium Sling Orange + Blue option for $ 50 a month (basically Sling’s two individual packages combined and offered at a discount).
If that just sounds too easy, there’s one caveat: NBC Sports regional content is only available in select markets. Check here if you can receive it.
To sweeten the offering, Sling TV typically includes device discounts with prepaid obligations. Currently, you can get a free AirTV Mini if you subscribe and prepay for two months on Sling TV, or a discount on RCA HDTV Indoor Antenna and AirTV bundle if you prepay for three months.
The once football-focused streaming service offers its fair share of baseball broadcast channels, including ESPN, Fox, FS1, and the MLB network. It also includes the networks NBC Sports Bay Area and NBC Sports California, which is great news for Giants and A fans. Getting them all. you need the starter pack for $ 65 per month (there is a 7-day free trial for new customers) and the Sports Plus channel add-on for an additional $ 11 per month.
Hulu + Live TV
Hulu offers a single flat-rate package that includes more than 65 live and on demand channels – including the ESPN, FS1 and TBS – plus regional sports networks in select areas. You get all of them, in addition to the original Hulu content and streaming library, for $ 65 a month.
Like Hulu, YouTube offers a flat rate package of over 85 channels for $ 65 per month. The baseball channel offerings are similar, but YouTube TV includes Fox and the MLB network, where Hulu With Live TV doesn’t.
The league’s official streaming service offers live streams of every regular season not on the market, with benefits including multiple game viewing (up to four games at once), in-game highlights, and a free subscription to the At Bat Premium app.
However, keep an eye out for the phrase “out-of-market”. MLB.TV is not a real cable cutting tool. It really was designed as a way for transplants – say, a Red Sox fan who lives in Seattle – to look at their former home teams. Local broadcasts remain subject to blackout rules, so you won’t be able to watch your hometown ball club live on TV this way.
That said, MLB.TV remains a worthwhile option for dyed-in-the-wool seamheads to catch virtually any out-of-market game broadcast – at home or on the go – during the regular season. And if you’re not exactly interested in real-time watching and can avoid social media and other potential spoiler sources, 90 minutes after the game ends, you can watch replays of your local team’s games on demand.
A full MLB.TV subscription, which gives you access to all 30 teams games – minus your local club’s – costs $ 25 per month or $ 130 for the year. There is also a single team option that allows you to follow a non-local team of your choice for $ 110 per year.
Major League Baseball is finally ramping up the record, giving cord cutters more options to watch the Grand Old Game. We would still like to see it offer more free marquee matchup streaming options, like the NFL has done with Yahoo! and Twitter. But until then, you can take advantage of these cable alternatives, along with our guide to second-screen baseball apps, to make sure you catch all the diamond action.
This story, “How Cord Cutters Can Watch Major League Baseball Without Cable” was originally published by