This news actually happened a month ago, but I was just reminded of it by virtue of an email I received reminding me that I, like a lot of you, are members of a class in a class action lawsuit that just settled and that, as a result, we’ll get MLB.TV and the Extra Innings package at a lower price this year.
To refresh your memory, the suit alleged collusion between teams and television networks in the creation of broadcast territories. Which TOTALLY happened and was TOTALLY stupid and random, by the way. Just ask your friends who live in Iowa, Las Vegas or Hawaii about how they can’t stream games for several teams despite the teams and broadcasters making no effort to actually televise the games in those areas. As a result, the cost of these so-called “see every game” packages was wildly inflated for many, giving them up to 33% fewer games than someone who lived in a less-blacked-out area. And which might have inspired some to purchase super expensive sports tier packages from their cable company in order to get them, but I bet that was just a happy coincidence.
In any event, the case settled. Blackouts still exist. They still remain random and arbitrary and we’re not really any closer to any of us being able to cut the cable/satellite cord and just stream everything, local market included, but there are some concessions here and some baby steps. The upshot:
- A reduction in price for the full MLB.tv package to $110 (from $130);
- The creation of new single-team packages that will cost $84.99 if you want to just see one team’s games;
- If you have cable or satellite and have MLB.TV, you can pay an extra $10 to gain access to the visiting team feed for in-market games. Meaning that if you are a Red Sox fan living in New York and you have cable, you can use MLB.tv to get the NESN feed of the game rather than have it blacked out and being forced to watch the YES feed.
The price drop is nice and the other stuff is a point of convenience for some, I suppose. The blackout stuff is still really galling, however. But really, given how dependent MLB and the cable and satellite companies are on sports broadcasting dollars and subscribers, it’s not shocking that we didn’t see a big paradigm shift.