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MLB Blackout Restrictions


adambr2

Every year, subscribers of MLB.TV are subject to the same outdated blackout restrictions. I'm not sure whether MLB is to blame, or the networks, but neither seem to care much that the fans are the ones inconvenienced, so long as MLB or the networks don't have to pay. For example:

 

- Why are road games blacked out? Should I really be punished for not attending the game down in Colorado? Is there really one Brewer fan in Wisconsin that's going to say, "Hmm, I was going to head down to Texas to watch the game, but since I see I can watch it on my computer, I'll just do that." Of course not. It's ridiculous. Why restrict the fans from watching the game when it's not going to cost anyone any money to let them see it anyway???

 

- Even sold out games are blacked out. Can someone explain this? I thought the whole purpose of the blackout was to encourage attendance of the game. How am I going to attend it if it's sold out?

 

- The restrictions of some zip code range are absurd. I think there are some ZIPs that have six or seven teams included in their blackout restriction. So they are going to make damn sure that any team that you might possibly be a fan of, you WON'T get to watch.

 

It sure feels like the current blackout restrictions policy is long outdated, and I think it's frustrating that it's just been shrugged off every year. Is there anyone at MLB who we might contact to ask to look at the current blackout restrictions in place?

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I heard Selig get asked about this around a year ago on some interview on XM. As much as I like Bud, his non-comittle answers are anoying at times. He gave the standard "We are certainly aware of the situtation and it's something we have been looking into on an ongoing basis."

 

Basically, don't hold your breath hoping for something to change any time soon.

User in-game thread post in 1st inning of 3rd game of the 2022 season: "This team stinks"

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I saw this article the other day on this very subject.

 

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/news?slug=jp-blackouts040608&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

 

If the link doesn't work it is a Jeff Passan article from 04/06/08 basically saying baseball is looking at making the team redo their home market areas since the Baseball Channel is coming and most of these "home markets" were set up during the days of radio not cable TV and packages allowing coverage of every team.

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I don't know why anyone ever asks Bud anything anymore. Don Fehr runs baseball.

Thats is one of the biggest misconceptions there is. This has absolutely nothing top do with the union and everything to do with the owners able to veto basically anything. You need 25 ownership votes to get anything done. All it takes it 6 owners to squash something. Angelos had to be bribed when the Nats came. You think the Steinbrenner's are going to give up on getting YES fees from south Jersey? You think the Brewers are willing to concede La Crosse and Eau Claire to the Twins? You think the Cubs and the Cardinals are going to come to a friendly agreement over southern Illinois?

 

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You think the Steinbrenner's are going to give up on getting YES fees from south Jersey? You think the Brewers are willing to concede La Crosse and Eau Claire to the Twins? You think the Cubs and the Cardinals are going to come to a friendly agreement over southern Illinois?

 

What real impact does this have on mlb.tv though? If you're talking actual television that's one thing, but to blackout some of these mlb.tv games is flat out wrong. I live just south of Nashville and I'm blacked out on the Reds games...even though there isn't a provider (that I know of) in the cable business that broadcasts these games. I'm also blacked out from the Braves games, which to a certain extent I understand. I have never yet met one single Reds fan anywhere around here. It makes zero sense and I don't know how the mlb.tv revenue is structured, but I doubt any of the teams you mentioned would lose money with mlb.tv...now with the FSN channel or other sports network on cable that is a different story.

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The blackouts are not to just get people to go to the games, but also to watch them on TV. The reason they black out away games is because they still should be broadcast locally. The mlb.tv doesn't have commercials, and no advertising is worse then programming with advertising. Hence, they want you to watch the game on tv.
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You think the Steinbrenner's are going to give up on getting YES fees from south Jersey? You think the Brewers are willing to concede La Crosse and Eau Claire to the Twins? You think the Cubs and the Cardinals are going to come to a friendly agreement over southern Illinois?

 

What real impact does this have on mlb.tv though? If you're talking actual television that's one thing, but to blackout some of these mlb.tv games is flat out wrong. I live just south of Nashville and I'm blacked out on the Reds games...even though there isn't a provider (that I know of) in the cable business that broadcasts these games. I'm also blacked out from the Braves games, which to a certain extent I understand. I have never yet met one single Reds fan anywhere around here. It makes zero sense and I don't know how the mlb.tv revenue is structured, but I doubt any of the teams you mentioned would lose money with mlb.tv...now with the FSN channel or other sports network on cable that is a different story.

They want you to complain to your cable provider. mlb.tv revenue goes to all of MLB. TV revenue (indirectly) goes to individual clubs.

 

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The blackouts are not to just get people to go to the games, but also to watch them on TV. The reason they black out away games is because they still should be broadcast locally. The mlb.tv doesn't have commercials, and no advertising is worse then programming with advertising. Hence, they want you to watch the game on tv.

Well, I don't see how this is really a reason to black out the game. Do they really think I'm going to choose watching the game on my PC if watching it on my television is available?

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What Pointer said. If you can watch it on TV, why does it matter if it's on MLB.TV? It's protecting the TV deals, as MLB.TV was not available when most contracts were signed.

 

They may be a bit outdated, and at some point, may well be changed...especially if it proves profitable. Your local games are blacked out on Extra innings for the same reason, you are supposed to watch them on your own affiliate.

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What Pointer said. If you can watch it on TV, why does it matter if it's on MLB.TV? It's protecting the TV deals, as MLB.TV was not available when most contracts were signed.

 

They may be a bit outdated, and at some point, may well be changed...especially if it proves profitable. Your local games are blacked out on Extra innings for the same reason, you are supposed to watch them on your own affiliate.

 

Like I said, if the game is on FSN locally, I'm not going to worry about watching it on MLB.TV. I don't count on MLB.TV as a source for most of my Brewer games. But when it is not available on any television for me, cable or not, I don't see why I should be prevented from watching it at all, especially when I'm already paying MLB for a separate service outside of my regular cable.
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especially when I'm already paying MLB for a separate service outside of my regular cable.

 

Or double-especially, if you live in places like Iowa or Nevada and have to buy three packages to get what many of us get in two packages.

That’s the only thing Chicago’s good for: to tell people where Wisconsin is.

[align=right]-- Sigmund Snopek[/align]

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They want you to complain to your cable provider. mlb.tv revenue goes to all of MLB. TV revenue (indirectly) goes to individual clubs.

 

I just don't see the logic in the mlb.tv blackouts in certain cases. There's no way I can watch the Reds through cable where I live yet I get blacked out for the games? This is my point and I don't think the $19.95 I pay every month is really going to hurt any teams revenue. mlb.tv doesn't generate a ton of revenue (no commercials) and with 1 million users per their site that's under $20 million of sales (even assuming they're all premium users). After costs and everything there really isn't that much money at all compared to television deals.

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When I lived in Estherville, IA....

 

U.S. postal code "51334" is subject to blackout for the following MLB teams:
  • Minnesota Twins
  • Chicago White Sox
  • St. Louis Cardinals
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Milwaukee Brewers

To me that was ridiculous...You were only able to get the Twins games on radio and on Cable TV...No teams had any games on broadcast TV since we had the Sioux Falls, SD TV stations.

 

Also, I live in omaha and one zip code and one zip code only in Omaha has a blackout restriction on Milwaukee. 68120....it is the only zip code in the state of Nebraska that blacks out Milwaukee and I am glad I do not live in that Zip Code.

 

 

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http://maps.google.com/maps?f=s&utm_campaign=en&utm_source=en-ha-na-us-sk-gm&utm_medium=ha&utm_term=maps

 

 

 

I live in Zip Code 68154....8.9 miles away is Zip code 68120

 

Here are the restrictions for the two different zip codes about 70 blocks apart.

 

 

 

U.S. postal code "68154" is subject to blackout for the following MLB teams:

Kansas City Royals

 

 

 

U.S. postal code "68120" is subject to blackout for the following MLB teams:

Minnesota Twins

Chicago White Sox

St. Louis Cardinals

Kansas City Royals

Chicago Cubs

Milwaukee Brewers

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68120 has been on the list as restricted as long as I have had MLBTv...so at least 4 years....When I first signed up for MLB.tv, they had Brewers Games restricted on my CPU and I had to prove that I lived in area code 68154....

 

Archaic rules and I hope they change....In my opnion, there is no reason that Iowa and Nebraska should ever have any game blacked out...The Royals are a natural for Omaha, but if you surveyed the people in Nebraska, the Royals would be a distant third or fourth as favorite team behind, Chicago Cubs, St Louis Cardinals and probably the Yankees.

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All Saturday afternoon games are blacked-out all season long on MLB Extra Innings, because Fox has the rights to them. This same blackout applies to MLB.TV, but does not start until May10th. Also all games are blacked-out on MLB Extra Innings and MLB.TV if they are played on Sunday night after 4pm Central time (start time).

 

I feel really bad for those people getting blacked-out from 4 or 5 teams. Here is my weird blackout; I live 819 miles from the nearest baseball team and they are still considered in "my market". I live in Montana and the team is the Mariners. I have never once seen a Mariners fan in this town. They might as well black out the Florida Marlins.

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Here's another blackout snafu that will make me livid tonight. FSN isn't carrying the Brew-Mets game tonight; it's only on locally in Milwaukee. I live 200 miles from Milwaukee. I have ExtraInnings. The Mets feed will probably be available on ExtraInnings, but you can rest assured it will be blacked out on my feed.
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Here is another weird blackout restriction. In the U.P. Iron Mountain only has a blackout for the Tigers, however anything west of that point has a blackout for both the Tigers and Brewers, yet Iron Mountain is closer to Milwaukee than any of the towns to the west. The other weird part is that you just cross the border by a mile and Niagara only has a blackout for the Brewers. Tell me how Iron Mountain is not in the Brewers market while the towns towards the west of that are?
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And finally, here's another one no one at DirecTV or MLB can explain to me. I live 140 miles from the Twin Cities. Every Twins home game is available to me on FSN North regardless of ExtraInnings subscribing. However, every road Twins game is blacked out! Doesn't matter if it's broadcast on FSN North or ExtraInnings. Customer service folks at DirectTV have told me I am wrong. I'll respond saying "I'm looking at the channel right now and it's blacked out"!
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