Frustrated by plans that would keep you away from television access during Major League Baseball’s Division Series this coming weekend?
With the St. Louis Cardinals – Los Angeles Dodgers National League Division Series to be televised exclusively on Major League Baseball’s in-house MLB Network and on FOX Sports 1, many fans will be left out in the cold – forced to listen rather than watch – even when at home.
While there is not yet an entire solution to the channel coverage issue – given that not all television providers carry those channels – there is some positive news. For the very first time, MLB and its broadcast partners have introduced live streaming of all post-season games. In many cases, pre- and post-game shows are included.
Like anything that has to do with MLB and game telecasts, the fine print can be troublesome, to say the least. 2014 DS, Championship Series and World Series games will be streamed by four different sources, varying by game. A major complication is that not all television providers support all the streaming services.
Here is a high level view of the landscape as relevant to St. Louis Cardinals.
|NLDS StL vs. LAD||Date||Television||Streaming|
|Game 1||Fri 10/3||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 2||Sat 10/4||MLB Network||MLB.TV|
|Game 3||Mon 10/5||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 4 (if necc.)||Tue 10/6||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 5 (if necc.)||Thu 10/8||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 1||Sat 10/11||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 2||Sun 10/12||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 3||Tue 10/14||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 4||Wed 10/15||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 5 (if necc.)||Thu 10/16||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 6 (if necc.)||Sat 10/18||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 7 (if necc.)||Sun 10/19||FOX Sports 1||FOX Sports GO|
|Game 1||Tue 10/21||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 2||Wed 10/22||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 3||Fri 10/24||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 4||Sat 10/25||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 5 (if necc.)||Sun 10/26||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 6 (if necc.)||Tue 10/28||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
|Game 7 (if necc.)||Wed 10/29||FOX||FOX Sports GO||MLB.TV|
Now, let’s dive into the fine print, starting with an MLB.TV example.
IF you subscribe to MLB.TV AND live in the U.S. or Canada AND are a customer of a select group of pay television providers…
You can watch the MLB Network feed of this Saturday’s NLDS Game 2 from Los Angeles via MLB.TV online or via your mobile device – with no blackout restrictions.
Here are MLB.TV’s participating post-season systems, which vary by broadcast network.
According to MLB, all that is needed to make this work is a “simple one-time authentication with your participating pay TV provider.”
My system “partner” is not among those listed, so I cannot verify this myself, but if you can take advantage, here is the link to MLB.TV’s authorization page. If you are able to try this out, please share your experiences in the comment section below.
FOX Sports GO
The other (up to) four Cardinals NLDS games, all broadcast by FOX Sports 1, can be streamed via FOX Sports GO and the FOX Sports GO mobile app only. This begins with Friday’s NLDS Game 1.
Among FOX Sports GO’s deals are with six major U.S. providers – Comcast, Time Warner Cable, AT&T U-verse, Cox Communications, Cablevision Systems and Bright House. Excluded, however, are four of the very largest – DirecTV, Dish Network, Verizon Communications and Charter Communications.
Looking ahead to the NLCS, just Games 1 and 6, which will be on FOX Network, can be viewed on MLB.TV. The other CS contests, FS1 telecasts, will only be streamed via FOX Sports GO.
Though FOX Sports GO does not have a by-game schedule that I can find, taking their words literally that they will carry all FOX games means that NLCS Games 1 and 6 will apparently be streamed by both MLB.TV and FOX Sports GO. Same would apply for the World Series.
However, as we have already learned, different TV providers are covered. For example, if you want to see NLCS Game 1 and you are a DirecTV customer, MLB.TV is your only hope. If you are with Comcast instead, FOX Sports GO would be your NLCS Game 1 streaming option. On the other hand, if you are with Charter, like me, you will be shut out, either way.
American League and World Series
MLB’s other post-season series will each originate from a single source. The full ALDS and ALCS will appear on TBS, while the complete World Series will air on FOX.
From a streaming perspective, AL games will be available online at TBS.com and via the Watch TBS mobile app. As noted above, the World Series will be streamed via MLB.TV and apparently, FOX Sports GO, as well.
In every case, of course, you must first meet each qualification. Miss one and you will most likely be ineligible to stream your choice of live post-season baseball in 2014.
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