For years Major League Baseball and broadcasters have been haggling over the availability of online streaming of local games. Sure, you can get MLB.tv and stream out of market games, but if you live in Detroit and want to watch the Tigers online, sorry, you’re out of luck.
Part of the reason the haggling has taken so long is that both MLB and the affiliate networks want the ability to be the platform on which you watch locally streamed games. MLB says it wants to ensure the quality of the stream and MLB video quality is very good. Local affiliates say they don’t want to give up customer information to MLB to allow the authentication process to be completed (this isn’t an anyone-can stream situation; you have to prove that you actually have cable first). It’s been a standoff for some time.
At least until now, at least for teams which broadcast on Fox affiliates. From Sports Buisness Journal:
Several industry sources said the league is drafting deal documents with Fox, which holds the local media rights to 15 MLB teams. An agreement to offer authenticated local streaming of live games is expected to be in place by the start of the 2016 season.
If you’re in one of those markets, you’ll watch it via the website or platform of your Fox affiliate. Which means MLB blinked and won’t host those local streams. Presumably, if this goes down as expected, MLB will eventually do deals with the other 15 local rights holders, some of which are other cable companies like Comcast, some of which are team-owned like YES Network and some of them are regional sports networks.
Still can’t cut the cord completely and go cable-free and still get your local team’s games, but this is, at the very least, a step forward.