If you’re an MLB.TV subscriber but only follow one team, now’s your last chance to get much lower pricing for the full season.
This year, Major League Baseball is offering single-team packages for its streaming service. The new plan costs $85 for the 2016 regular season, and it includes nearly all the usual MLB.TV Premium features, such as home and away broadcasts, free use of the MLB At Bat mobile app, and HD streaming access on phones, tablets, connected TV devices, and computers. (The only thing you won’t get, of course, is multiple games in split-screen view on PCs and Macs.)
Unfortunately, MLB’s blackout restrictions still apply, so the new plan won’t help you watch live games from your local team without a cable subscription. You’ll also get blacked out whenever the out-of-market team you’re following comes to play in your town. (MLB will offer a way to lift this restriction by the All-Star break, but only for pay-TV subscribers who get their local team via a regional sports network, and they’ll still have to pay another $10 for streaming privileges.)
MLB isn’t offering these single-team plans out of the goodness of its heart. Instead, they are the direct result of a class-action lawsuit between the league and a group of fans, alleging that the league and its network partners colluded to eliminate competition. In January, the league agreed to a settlement, which also reduced the price of the full MLB.TV package to $110 per year—down $20 form last season. (The NHL reached a similar agreement for a similar lawsuit last summer.)
Current subscribers will automatically get the lower $110 price when their plans renew, but to get the new single-team package, you’ll have to cancel through the MLB.tv website and sign up again. Otherwise, subscriptions will auto-renew by the end of February.
Why this matters: Although the new plan doesn’t help with the blackouts that keep cord cutters from watching their local teams, it’s essentially free money for fans of a particular out-of-market team. Current subscribers should consider this a final warning to take advantage.