In new deal w/FOX starting in 2014, no more Saturday blackouts of out of market games for MLB EI & MLB.TV customers
— MLB Public Relations (@MLB_PR) October 2, 2012
OK, we have to wait a year, but this is great news for those of who suffered under MLB's archaic blackout rules and policies. Kudos to MLB and FOX for finally implementing a strategy that ensures fans will be able to watch any game on Saturday and just the one fed to their local FOX affiliate.
There are still issues with MLB.TV and Extra Innings blackout policies where fans in certain regions of the country are blacked out of some games without access to a local broadcast of those games. In Iowa, for example, MLB.TV customers can't watch the Cubs, White Sox, Twins, Brewers, Cardinals or Cubs, unless their local cable affiliate carries the regional sports network that broadcasts those teams. In Las Vegas, there is no MLB.TV access to Dodgers, Angels, Padres, A's, Giants or Diamondbacks home games. Las Vegas cable companies don't carry the networks for all six of those teams. For example, Cox Cable in Las Vegas carries FOX Sports West, which carries Dodgers and Angels games, so good luck watching the Padres, A's, Giants or Diamondbacks.
(For more on this messy issue, check out Jeff Passan's story from June.)
The various new national TV deals that MLB has signed with FOX, ESPN and Turner will bring in $12.4 billion from 2014 to 2021, according to commissioner Bud Selig. Include the mega deals with regional networks that many teams have signed -- the Rangers and Angels each signed deals worth about an estimated $3 billion over 20 years, even the Padres signed a $1.2 billion deal that will net them an estimated $40 million per season from FOX Sports San Diego -- and you can see that baseball owners are doing very, very well.
So do the right thing and eliminate all the blackout policies. We just want to watch baseball.