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Old Feb 25, 2014, 06:22 PM   #1
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MLB At Bat Updated for 2014 Baseball Season With Full iOS 7 Redesign




In what has become a yearly tradition for late February, Major League Baseball today updated its MLB At Bat app for the 2014 baseball season. The app, perennially one of the most popular -- and highest grossing -- on the App Store, received a top-to-bottom redesign to match iOS 7 and to improve the user experience.

Photos and video are more prevalent in At Bat, running edge-to-edge and inline with other content. For example, video embedded in a news article displays within the article itself, with users able to tap a full-screen button if they wish. The redesign emphasizes MLB's aim to improve the fan experience and help technology augment the game and otherwise get out of the way.

Showing how the design team has embraced subtlety, text and selection highlights in the app change depending on which team a user selects as their "favorite". For example, a Red Sox fan will see red highlights throughout the app, while a Yankees fan would see navy blue. A MLB spokesperson told MacRumors that the app is the mobile focus point for millions of baseball fans and the design teams strive to make the app seem like home, no matter which team they're a fan of.

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Long hailed as the standard bearer for introducing features that matter to fans, At Bat this year will report for live Spring Training games with a full app re-design for iOS 7 on iPhone and iPad, among other new enhancements. Fans again will have access to the core functionality At Bat has pioneered over its first five years, including: personalized team experiences to deliver a linear feed of content for a designated favorite team; searchable libraries of tens of thousands of video-on-demand highlight clips; and customizable original news reporting and fantasy baseball analysis from MLB.com club beat reporters and national columnists.
Like last year, there are two main subscription packages for the iPhone and iPad -- a $130/season MLB.tv Premium offering that includes live home-and-away television broadcasts for out-of-market games, as well as live home-and-away radio broadcasts. It also includes the ability to watch on any device regardless of how the viewer purchases the package -- users can buy MLB.tv Premium via a $130 in-app purchase can watch live games within the app, as well as on the Apple TV, Xbox, PlayStation or any number of other connected devices.

The cheaper At Bat 2014 product, available as a $20/season in-app purchase, offers home-and-away radio broadcasts with no blackout restrictions. Both the Premium and At Bat services are also available as month-to-month subscriptions, though the whole-season package is quite a bit cheaper than buying month-to-month.

MLB Advanced Media 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. It also is well into its iBeacon rollout and expects to have twenty ballparks outfitted with the devices by Opening Day. The At The Ballpark app will see an update before then to support the new iBeacons.

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

Article Link: MLB At Bat Updated for 2014 Baseball Season With Full iOS 7 Redesign
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 06:24 PM   #2
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"extremely complex and difficult to negotiate."

:translation:

Insanely expensive.
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 06:25 PM   #3
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Already downloaded and bought the cheaper $20 subscription...batter up!
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 06:30 PM   #4
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I think the cable companies are ruining technological advances in content delivery. The recent Comcast/TimeWarner deal will set back content delivery another decade. I'm going to stop watching ABC shows as they force me to carry a cable TV subscription *even though* I am already watching their commercials.

If you're from MLB and reading this, tell me what the price is to get live local games w/o blackout and you may find I will pay it.
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 06:38 PM   #5
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Go Yankees!
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 07:03 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FakeWozniak View Post
I think the cable companies are ruining technological advances in content delivery. The recent Comcast/TimeWarner deal will set back content delivery another decade. I'm going to stop watching ABC shows as they force me to carry a cable TV subscription *even though* I am already watching their commercials.

If you're from MLB and reading this, tell me what the price is to get live local games w/o blackout and you may find I will pay it.
The blackouts are insane - if I was near my HDTV I would certainly watch the game on the big screen rather than on my iphone; the only time I would watch on an ios device is when I can't get the local broadcast any other way... SO, if they allowed me to stream it and just passed through the commercials, I would be another set of eyeballs for the advertisers. By blacking the game out they guarantee I'm not going to see those commercials... I just don't get it.

Regardless, I will never buy the mlb.tv package so long as they don't figure out how to do away with the blackouts. I watched over 140 Nats games last year, and would have happily paid the $130 to see those other 20 games when I wasn't near a tv but unfortunately MLB doesn't give me that option.
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 07:20 PM   #7
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Pro tip: wait until Father's Day or All-Star break for 1/2 price sale. Or just wait until Sept. for even better pricing & a few games that actually mean something.

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Originally Posted by FakeWozniak View Post
I think the cable companies are ruining technological advances in content delivery. The recent Comcast/TimeWarner deal will set back content delivery another decade.
You assume it's going to pass FTC & DOJ muster. I'm not sure at all. No precedent at all for it & this DOJ hasn't been hospitable to mega-mergers except airlines.
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Old Feb 25, 2014, 08:11 PM   #8
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I will say this: Just tell me what it would cost to be able to watch the games without blackout restrictions on the go and I am willing to bet I'd pay for it and keep my subscription on going.

The blackout restrictions are quite crazy on the games that I can and can not watch...
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 02:36 AM   #9
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Anyone else noticed that the hide scores option doesn't fully work?

Have a look at my screenshot. The scores are hidden at the top left but in the middle at the top it still shows.

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Old Feb 26, 2014, 03:19 AM   #10
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The fact that it's iOS7-only and STILL does not convert game start times to be local to user makes it a no-go for me.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 07:05 AM   #11
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I live about 400 miles from DC and the Nats games would still be blacked out in this app. Hasn't anyone found a workaround?
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 11:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levitynyc View Post
"extremely complex and difficult to negotiate."

:translation:

Insanely expensive.
More like impossible. Those broadcast rights have already been sold for huge bucks, and many are tied up for decades.

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Originally Posted by Tilpots View Post
I live about 400 miles from DC and the Nats games would still be blacked out in this app. Hasn't anyone found a workaround?
Proxy servers supposedly work.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 12:11 PM   #13
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I am planning on using a VPN service called TunnelBear to hopefully mask my IP to somewhere else within the US so I can watch the local Angels and Dodgers games. It is a very simple to use, I recently used it to watch the Winter Olympics coverage from CBC (Canada) and BBC (England) and it worked great! They even have an iOS app as well. It is $5 a month for the unlimited service, works great, they also have a free service but it is limited to 1GB of traffic a month, which is easy to burn through while streaming content.

Does anyone know if the app is Airplay friendly?
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 12:47 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Tilpots View Post
I live about 400 miles from DC and the Nats games would still be blacked out in this app. Hasn't anyone found a workaround?
Poor you. No really, that really sucks to be 400 miles away and still be considered in their market?! That's bs.

Without blackout rules, I would buy the full subscription every single year. If I could get myself to my big screen TV, of course that's where I'm going to watch. I'd only rely on this app for day games away from home, or other situations that prevent me from being on my couch. But I'd still pay for it.

Since they're able to tell I am in their market, and in turn black me out.. how about they just show me the commercials that are on TV instead of the "be right back" message. That way the ads will still hit my brain as if I were at home.
I'm sure it is due to the MLB and advertisers unable to come to a financial agreement. I mean, what else could it be? It doesn't make sense anymore, especially with how many people have phones and tablets vs 3-4 years ago.

Heck, I'd even be OK with having to authenticate my Comcast subscription like the Olympics app required (even though so many games are over the air) and still pay the $130 a year.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 01:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by darkslide29 View Post
Poor you. No really, that really sucks to be 400 miles away and still be considered in their market?! That's bs.

Without blackout rules, I would buy the full subscription every single year. If I could get myself to my big screen TV, of course that's where I'm going to watch. I'd only rely on this app for day games away from home, or other situations that prevent me from being on my couch. But I'd still pay for it.

Since they're able to tell I am in their market, and in turn black me out.. how about they just show me the commercials that are on TV instead of the "be right back" message. That way the ads will still hit my brain as if I were at home.
I'm sure it is due to the MLB and advertisers unable to come to a financial agreement. I mean, what else could it be? It doesn't make sense anymore, especially with how many people have phones and tablets vs 3-4 years ago.

Heck, I'd even be OK with having to authenticate my Comcast subscription like the Olympics app required (even though so many games are over the air) and still pay the $130 a year.
You are missing the point, just like nearly everybody else. It isn't about commercials. The in-market broadcast rights to these games are owned by the teams, and the teams license these rights for massive dollars to cable companies and satellite providers, costs they in turn pass along to subscribers. For MLB to broadcast these games, they'd have to compensate all of the rights licensees for every lost viewer. Since the licensees have absolutely no reason to think about losing revenue, let alone trying to calculate how much compensation they should get for every MLB subscriber, this conversation isn't going to happen.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 03:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jim.arrows View Post
The blackouts are insane - if I was near my HDTV I would certainly watch the game on the big screen rather than on my iphone; the only time I would watch on an ios device is when I can't get the local broadcast any other way... SO, if they allowed me to stream it and just passed through the commercials, I would be another set of eyeballs for the advertisers. By blacking the game out they guarantee I'm not going to see those commercials... I just don't get it.

Regardless, I will never buy the mlb.tv package so long as they don't figure out how to do away with the blackouts. I watched over 140 Nats games last year, and would have happily paid the $130 to see those other 20 games when I wasn't near a tv but unfortunately MLB doesn't give me that option.
almost every TV provider streams most of their channels now with some requiring that you be on their wifi
i watch most of knicks/nets games on my ipad in the kitchen via the time warner app

even then if you subscribe to MLB/NBA/NHL services the price is the same as paying for cable TV
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 04:31 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by IJ Reilly View Post
More like impossible. Those broadcast rights have already been sold for huge bucks, and many are tied up for decades.
Extremely difficult, perhaps, but not impossible.

When MLB.tv launched 12 years ago, here in Japan ALL live games were blacked out in the At Bat app, reputedly because of the broadcasting rights NHK (an over-the-air network) had licensed from MLB.

By 2010, the blackouts had ended, even though NHK still has MLB broadcasting rights.

If MLB really wanted to get the blackouts lifted, it could.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 04:54 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by japanime View Post
Extremely difficult, perhaps, but not impossible.

When MLB.tv launched 12 years ago, here in Japan ALL live games were blacked out in the At Bat app, reputedly because of the broadcasting rights NHK (an over-the-air network) had licensed from MLB.

By 2010, the blackouts had ended, even though NHK still has MLB broadcasting rights.

If MLB really wanted to get the blackouts lifted, it could.
I don't think these are comparable situations. In the case you describe, it was apparent that MLB had the broadcast rights and was negotiating with only one carrier in Japan. If only it was so simple in the states. MLB doesn't own the in-market broadcast rights to teams so each and every team strikes its own media deal with a broadcaster. And then the fun really starts.

For instance, the Dodgers just signed a 25-year media deal with TWC worth something like $8B to the Dodgers. TWC in turn negotiates with other in-market providers to carry the games. So far, nobody of significance has signed on, so it could happen that a large part of the Dodgers' home market won't be carrying Dodgers games when the season starts in a few weeks -- and those are carriers who know their subscriber base numbers, and how much cost they can get away with passing along to their subscribers.

Could TWC negotiate a carrier agreement with MLB? Maybe, but I don't see any movement in that direction, and I think maybe it's because neither MLB (which is made up by its franchise members) doesn't see any need, and the carriers would see it as just another way to lose subscribers, which is already a problem for them. It's a mess.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 05:03 PM   #19
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You are missing the point, just like nearly everybody else. It isn't about commercials. The in-market broadcast rights to these games are owned by the teams, and the teams license these rights for massive dollars to cable companies and satellite providers, costs they in turn pass along to subscribers. For MLB to broadcast these games, they'd have to compensate all of the rights licensees for every lost viewer. Since the licensees have absolutely no reason to think about losing revenue, let alone trying to calculate how much compensation they should get for every MLB subscriber, this conversation isn't going to happen.
I figured I was missing the point. I knew what I was saying couldn't be the reason. Thanks for the info.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 06:15 PM   #20
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For MLB to broadcast these games, they'd have to compensate all of the rights licensees for every lost viewer. Since the licensees have absolutely no reason to think about losing revenue, let alone trying to calculate how much compensation they should get for every MLB subscriber, this conversation isn't going to happen.
Makes sense.

However, why can't they do something like NBC did with the Olympics? If you logged in with your TV subscriber info, you got to watch unlimited coverage of the Olympics.

If you already pay your TV company to get the games, you wouldn't be a "lost viewer", since you're already paying for the TV channel anyway. (Well, I suppose people could theoretically share their TV login data with friends who don't pay for TV...)

Meh, whatever, I bought the full season of Premium anyway, because I like watching the rest of the league.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 06:33 PM   #21
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Makes sense.

However, why can't they do something like NBC did with the Olympics? If you logged in with your TV subscriber info, you got to watch unlimited coverage of the Olympics.

If you already pay your TV company to get the games, you wouldn't be a "lost viewer", since you're already paying for the TV channel anyway. (Well, I suppose people could theoretically share their TV login data with friends who don't pay for TV...)

Meh, whatever, I bought the full season of Premium anyway, because I like watching the rest of the league.
NBC had more Olympics material than they could broadcast during primetime, and they also owned the broadcast rights. Could you watch the online content if you were an over-air viewer of NBC?

In any case the big issue with MLB is the fragmentation into market areas. If MLB created new rules that reserved in-market online broadcast rights for MLB.com then over time, as new media contracts were signed, the situation would change. But like I said, MLB is the 30 franchises, and they probably don't see any reason to give anything away, since media rights are their biggest cash cow.
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Old Feb 26, 2014, 08:04 PM   #22
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NBC had more Olympics material than they could broadcast during primetime, and they also owned the broadcast rights. Could you watch the online content if you were an over-air viewer of NBC?

In any case the big issue with MLB is the fragmentation into market areas. If MLB created new rules that reserved in-market online broadcast rights for MLB.com then over time, as new media contracts were signed, the situation would change. But like I said, MLB is the 30 franchises, and they probably don't see any reason to give anything away, since media rights are their biggest cash cow.
Excellent contributions to this thread. I think you're finally helping us realize the enormous amounts of money involved with these rights. We love to say things like a-la-carte and "I would $X for Y content". That's great, but I have yet to see a single cogent argument why the content providers would change their current modus operandi. $8B for the Dodgers rights... what's that about 60 million or so subscriptions?
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 05:47 AM   #23
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Excellent contributions to this thread. I think you're finally helping us realize the enormous amounts of money involved with these rights. We love to say things like a-la-carte and "I would $X for Y content". That's great, but I have yet to see a single cogent argument why the content providers would change their current modus operandi. $8B for the Dodgers rights... what's that about 60 million or so subscriptions?


Even if they tried to stream it, I dont think there is enough bandwidth on the internet for millions to stream live games
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 10:28 AM   #24
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Excellent contributions to this thread. I think you're finally helping us realize the enormous amounts of money involved with these rights. We love to say things like a-la-carte and "I would $X for Y content". That's great, but I have yet to see a single cogent argument why the content providers would change their current modus operandi. $8B for the Dodgers rights... what's that about 60 million or so subscriptions?
Media rights now mean more to MLB teams than any other revenue source (and probably the same is true in other sports). The new Dodgers deal pays them $210M in the first year, with the payout rising sharply after that. The average over the course of the contract is well over $300M a year. A portion of this revenue is shared with MLB, so every team gets to lap up some of the gravy.

The really sweet part for TWC is that they can pass these costs directly along to subscribers, at a current cost of about $5/month (also set to escalate), and under the current setup, subscribers don't get to choose which sports channels they want and which ones they don't want, so they end up paying similar monthly changes for every team in their local market even if they watch only one. TWC in turn markets these rights to other providers in the local market. The really sweet part for the Dodgers is that TWC is responsible for paying the Dodgers the full freight whether or not they get anyone else to ante up.

Now, the entire system could come crashing down some day, if enough people quit cable and satallite over constantly rising bills (over half of which are already passed through to sports teams), or if the laws are changed to require that they sell channels a la carte. I don't know anyone who is seriously predicting this now. In the meantime, it's a golden goose. Nobody wants to kill it, except us consumers -- and frankly, we don't count.

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Even if they tried to stream it, I dont think there is enough bandwidth on the internet for millions to stream live games
Netflix pulls it off.
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Old Feb 27, 2014, 12:47 PM   #25
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netflix is not live shows and netflix screwed up their distribution of data in the last year which is why they are having all these problems and HBO Go and others come in crystal clear

most video is not streamed over the internet, but is on a CDN inside the ISP's network or there is a direct peer connection between the video provider and the ISP

figure $2 per month per megabit that you will have to pay to get MLB to deliver you the data. so for a 5 megabit somewhat HD feed the service will cost $60 - $70 for the season out of the current $150 price. add in the rights to the games and you're looking at close to $300 for the season to stream your local team
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