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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:26 PM   #1
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MLB At Bat Updated for the 2013 Season, Local Game Video Still Blacked Out




Major League Baseball has updated its MLB At Bat app for the 2013 baseball season, refining the app in several areas and adding multi-platform access for subscriptions purchased through the MLB At Bat's In-App Purchase mechanism. The app provides baseball fans with access to subscription-based live game radio and television broadcasts, MLB GameDay play-by-play service, and more.

There are several subscription levels depending on whether the user wants streaming television broadcasts, or just the radio broadcasts. The app itself, a universal app designed for both the iPhone and iPad, is a free download and offers free league-wide scoreboards and limited access to news and non-live video content from Major League Baseball.

There are two main subscription packages. The high-end $130/season MLB.tv Premium offers everything: live home-and-away television broadcasts for "out-of-market" games (that is, users can't watch their local team's television coverage) as well as live game home-and-away radio broadcasts, and the ability to watch on mobile devices, PC's, the Apple TV, and consoles. Users can also watch a growing number of archived classic games. MLB.tv Premium can be purchased through the MLB website or via in-app subscription for $25/month.

The cheaper At Bat 2013 product, which is available as an in-app purchase for $20/season or $3/month, offers both home-and-away radio broadcasts with no blackout restrictions.

New for this year, subscribers who purchase MLB.tv Premium or At Bat 2013 through IAP will get to access in-game audio or TV broadcasts not only on the iPhone and iPad, but on Android devices, as well as Macs and PCs and consoles (as applicable).

MLB Advanced Media has promised more upgrades to the app before opening day at the beginning of April, and told MacRumors that the company is aware that customers would very much like to stream local games without blackout restrictions, but that the content deals to allow that are extremely complex and difficult to negotiate.

MLB At Bat is a free universal download from the App Store for iPhone and iPad. [Direct Link]

Article Link: MLB At Bat Updated for the 2013 Season, Local Game Video Still Blacked Out
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:33 PM   #2
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I really wish that AtBat wouldn't black out local games. I've gotten rid of cable and still can't watch games from my local team as they're happening even if I pay their $130.00 subscription.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:37 PM   #3
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I really wish that AtBat wouldn't black out local games. I've gotten rid of cable and still can't watch games from my local team as they're happening even if I pay their $130.00 subscription.
Yep, I won't purchase again until MLB can work out these restrictions.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:49 PM   #4
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Yep, I won't purchase again until MLB can work out these restrictions.
They probably can't. These rights are sold under exclusive contracts to cable providers and sports networks, and the providers aren't going to give up anything to MLB that they've already paid (big money) for. The dirty little secret of sports media is that today more than 50% of cable and satellite bills are the pass-through costs of sports team media contracts. You cannot buy them a la carte, or from any other source. This is done on purpose such that if you want to watch any local sports team you have to subscribe to cable or satellite and are forced to pay for all of the local teams.

This system is beyond broken, but it's probably impossible to fix.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:53 PM   #5
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They probably can't. These rights are sold under exclusive contracts to cable providers and sports networks, and the providers aren't going to give up anything to MLB that they've already paid (big money) for. The dirty little secret of sports media is that today more than 50% of cable and satellite bills are the pass-through costs of sports team media contracts. You cannot buy them a la carte, or from any other source. This is done on purpose such that if you want to watch any local sports team you have to subscribe to cable or satellite and are forced to pay for all of the local teams.

This system is beyond broken, but it's probably impossible to fix.
They could link it to DirecTV or other accounts as some other services do, like HBO.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:42 PM   #6
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I really wish that AtBat wouldn't black out local games. I've gotten rid of cable and still can't watch games from my local team as they're happening even if I pay their $130.00 subscription.
That's why they're blacked out!
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:47 PM   #7
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This blackout nonsense has to end. It does nothing but hurt the consumers: the fans. I get that it's so that it's so mlb.tv doesn't compete with local cable companies, but it's still ridiculous. Let me put in my local cable company login information (like HBOgo does) and prove that I'm a subscriber to let me watch local games then. Or increase the price for unblacked out access.

Again, this restriction only hurts the real fans.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:04 PM   #8
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This blackout nonsense has to end. It does nothing but hurt the consumers: the fans. I get that it's so that it's so mlb.tv doesn't compete with local cable companies, but it's still ridiculous. Let me put in my local cable company login information (like HBOgo does) and prove that I'm a subscriber to let me watch local games then. Or increase the price for unblacked out access.

Again, this restriction only hurts the real fans.
I will say though, listening to the audio while watching the Gameday isn't bad. I'm in Utah so I can't watch the Giants when they play Colorado or Arizona. They don't even show AZ games on local tv. But MLB At Bat is pretty good about putting highlight videos up quick. Sometimes by the next inning. If that doesn't work for you, get SlingBox!
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:52 PM   #9
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That's why they're blacked out!
Exactly! There's a lot of money wrapped up in local cable deals - especially with baseball. We're talking about a 162 game season.

The Astros and Rockets here in Houston just created their own channel (with comcast), and they are playing hardball with the other providers. So, right now 70% of Houston can't even watch the Rockets on TV.

It's hard to see these blackouts going away any time soon. In any sport.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:17 PM   #10
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Exactly! There's a lot of money wrapped up in local cable deals - especially with baseball. We're talking about a 162 game season.

The Astros and Rockets here in Houston just created their own channel (with comcast), and they are playing hardball with the other providers. So, right now 70% of Houston can't even watch the Rockets on TV.

It's hard to see these blackouts going away any time soon. In any sport.
This isn't new. Comcast does this all the time. Whenever a contract with another provider like Dish or DirecTV expires they try to gauge them in the re-up, usually forcing the contract talks to stall, then those subscribers go without, Comcast hopefully gets some defectors before the deal finally gets made. Same with new "Comcast" owned stations. They want to steal subscribers so they leverage that over the other providers during negotiations.

Can you imagine if Comcast owned ESPN. They'd never want to have anyone else get it, hoping to get all the satellite subscribers back!
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:44 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by PantherCreek View Post
I really wish that AtBat wouldn't black out local games. I've gotten rid of cable and still can't watch games from my local team as they're happening even if I pay their $130.00 subscription.
Networks pay a lot of money to exclusively carry games in local markets. It's not going to change any time soon.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:51 PM   #12
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Networks pay a lot of money to exclusively carry games in local markets. It's not going to change any time soon.
They could very easily stream the local networks actual feed with commercials and all to those who in local markets. Problem solved.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:55 PM   #13
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They could very easily stream the local networks actual feed with commercials and all to those who in local markets. Problem solved.
No, they can't. The value is in the customer charges. See my most above.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by azentropy View Post
They could link it to DirecTV or other accounts as some other services do, like HBO.
It isn't linked, it's sold. For big money.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:58 PM   #14
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No, they can't. The value is in the customer charges. See my most above.

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It isn't linked, it's sold. For big money.
I'm talking about for those who already do PAY for the service but happen to not be at home when wanting to watch a game.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:58 PM   #15
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Best app of all the major sports. Too bad it's baseball.
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Old Feb 23, 2013, 04:05 PM   #16
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They could very easily stream the local networks actual feed with commercials and all to those who in local markets. Problem solved.
I agree with your sentiment, but it's worth noting that it's not just local games that are blacked out. Fox has an exclusivity window (fortunately recently expired, or soon to expire) where no other games are allowed to be televised or streamed at all if they occur during Fox's featured Saturday game window. TBS has exclusive rights to some Braves' games, so you can't watch them from anywhere in the US. Etc. etc.

I do wish MLB would do as you propose - which, incidentally, is basically what they already do on the radio side. And, not so incidentally, this is why I will only buy the audio subscription from MLB.com - and it still comes with AtBat. I made the mistake of buying the video subscription once, but it will never happen again until they change these arcane blackout policies.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:34 PM   #17
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Networks pay a lot of money to exclusively carry games in local markets. It's not going to change any time soon.
Here's the flaw in their argument - at least for blacking out local games on phones and tablets: No one chooses to watch a baseball game on their 4" phone screen versus a big TV in all of it's high definition glory. I don't want to be able to watch Cardinals games on my phone while in the STL area so I can dump cable and never watch it on TV again, I want to watch games on my phone for the times when I'm unable to watch them on TV.

Of course I'm going to watch games on TV when I can, but I can't be in front of a TV for all 162 games. On day games, it would be nice to be able to have the game going on my phone while I'm at work. Even though I can see Busch Stadium from my office, I can't see the action inside the stadium

Perhaps there's a valid argument for blacking out games on Apple TV/Roku/etc and computers, because then people really wouldn't watch it on cable or satellite. But it seems like showing the commercials during breaks instead of the "Be back soon...." screen would solve that problem. Why the hell should networks care where the advertising dollars are coming in from as long as they're coming in? Besides, if the commercials are streamed nationally, the networks might attract bigger, national advertisers who I'm sure pay more money for a 30 second spot than sleazeballs like Ray Vinson (any Cardinals fans who watch FSMW know what I'm talking about).
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:33 PM   #18
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What does this have to do with 10.8.3 being [hopefully] released today?
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:36 PM   #19
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Dear MLB teams (as blackout restrictions aren't under jurisdiction by the MLB itself):

Please allow MLB at Bat to at least just stream the feed from your stupid local sports network created solely for your team.

Thanks,
Baseball fans everywhere
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:38 PM   #20
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Dear MLB teams (as blackout restrictions aren't under jurisdiction by the MLB itself):

Please allow MLB at Bat to at least just stream the feed from your stupid local sports network created solely for your team.

Thanks,
Baseball fans everywhere
Unfortunately, it is not that simple. There are many parties involved between the action on the field and the consumer at home on the couch. The current deals would all need to expire and/or be renegotiated with the following parties at the table (who, by the way, largely have no interest in giving up their exclusivity pacts):
  • Owners
  • Players Association
  • MLB Advanced Media
  • Local Channels
  • Regional Channels
  • National Channels
  • Advertisers
  • Cable Operators
  • Satellite Operators

It is the same situation as some YouTube videos that are blacked-out from being played on mobile devices. Until they can figure out how to monetize those feeds, they are not going to provide it in the hopes that you will filter to the channels that they are making money on. I'm not agreeing with the model, but that's the reality. They have little incentive to change. Money is the only way.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:41 PM   #21
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Can you watch the away-team coverage of home games? At least you'd still get to see the game, even with the other team's announcers.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:44 PM   #22
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Can you watch the away-team coverage of home games? At least you'd still get to see the game, even with the other team's announcers.
Nope. If your local market team is playing, the game is blacked-out whether home or away. The only exception may be if the game is not being televised in your local market, but in baseball that is an extremely rare occurrence. Certainly not worth $150/season.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 04:00 PM   #23
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What does this have to do with 10.8.3 being [hopefully] released today?
Nothing
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:45 PM   #24
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I love this. My local team sucks cow turds, so I can follow my Yankees from way out here!


Not a deal if you want to watch your local team, however.
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Old Feb 21, 2013, 03:49 PM   #25
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Blackout restrictions won't be lifted until the current TV contracts expire.

But I believe the MLB and Yankees (at least for a part of the season) lifted the blackout restrictions in NY. But the Yankees own the local network so I'm sure that helped move things along with the trial.
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