MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV?
There are more options than ever when it comes to watching live Major League Baseball games. Gone are the days where you might be able to watch the hometown team on your local cable system—instead, there are multiple options that allow the consumer to watch dozens of baseball games each week. If you are looking into some of these options, is the cable package MLB Extra Innings or is the streaming option MLB.TV the way to go?
If you already have cable or satellite television with a major provider (DISH, DIRECTV, XFINITY, etc.) or you live in the market where your team of choice plays, then the MLB Extra Innings package, while more expensive, is probably going to be your best bet.
|MLB Extra Innings||MLB.TV|
|Annual price||$173.94 (DIRECTV); $164.12 (XFINITY); $165 (DISH)||$109.99 (MLB.TV Premium); $84.99 (MLB.TV Single Team)|
|Streaming option||Yes (via MLB.TV)||Yes|
|Cable subscription||Required||Not required|
|Extras||MLB.TV, Game Mix, MLB Network Strike Zone||MLB Gameday Audio, At Bat Premium app|
MLB Extra Innings
EXPAND FOR DETAILS
$173.94 (DIRECTV); $164.12 (XFINITY); $165 (DISH)
Yes (via MLB.TV)
MLB.TV, Game Mix, MLB Network Strike Zone
EXPAND FOR DETAILS
$109.99 (MLB.TV Premium); $84.99 (MLB.TV Single Team)
MLB Gameday Audio, At Bat Premium app
MLB Extra Innings subscriptions now include access to MLB.TV, so you’ll want to decide if you need the additional features the cable package offers.
Plans and Pricing
MLB Extra Innings
Most providers allow you to break up the cost of MLB Extra Innings. For example, DIRECTV charges $28.99 per month for six months or $173.94 at once. XFINITY charges four payments of $41.03 per month ($164.12 total). DISH charges $165 for the full season or four payments of $41.25. One downside is that you aren’t allowed to cut off service mid-year with MLB Extra Innings, while MLB.TV offers monthly subscriptions.
Some MLB Extra Innings subscriptions include several additional perks. With DIRECTV, the subscription includes Game Mix Channel, which allows viewers to watch up to 8 games at once, as well as the MLB Network Strike Zone Channel, which gives live updates and highlights.
On the other hand, price is going to be a deciding factor for some, as MLB.TV offers multiple options, all cheaper than the full MLB Extra Innings Package:
MLB.TV Premium $109.99
Almost 100 games per week available on streaming devices. Includes a subscription to MLB Gameday Audio, normally $19.99 per year if purchased as a standalone product. Gameday Audio allows customers to listen to all 2,430 games without any blackout restrictions.
MLB.TV Premium Monthly $24.99 (monthly)
This monthly plan offers you the option of getting on board later in the season if you just want your subscription for a shorter time frame.
MLB.TV Single Team $84.99
The single team option offers access to one team of your choice for all out-of-market games.
With MLB.TV’s full-season options, subscribers will also get access to the At Bat Premium app, which is normally $19.99. All packages also allow you access to both the home and away feeds.
You will need a compatible streaming device to watch all the action on MLB.TV. For a full list of compatible devices, visit the MLB.TV site.
In essence, with MLB Extra Innings, you are paying at least $55 more for full access to both products. And of course you are paying your regular monthly cable or satellite provider for access to the package, something you won’t have with MLB.TV.
Beware of Blackouts
In addition to cost, there is another very important factor to consider before you commit your hard-earned dollar: the Blackout Factor. A warning in advance—you may not like this.
Each baseball team has a deal in place with a regional sports network (RSN) serving that market. For instance, the New York Yankees broadcast almost all of their games on the YES Network, with a few games broadcast on national providers like ESPN or FOX. If you live in the New York market, you won’t be able to see Yankee (or New York Mets) games on either MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV, as baseball “protects” the RSN by blacking them out from the local market, defined by zip codes.
So if you live in the area where your favorite team plays, you won’t be able to watch local games unless you continue with your traditional cable or satellite provider and watch on the regional sports network—YES Network in this example.
On the other hand, either package works great for the fan who doesn’t reside in the home market. Yankee fans living in Florida have fairly inexpensive options available between the two packages that allow them to keep tabs on their team day in and day out.
This particular issue remains a point of contention for many who want to dump traditional distributors like DISH and DIRECTV and go with a streaming setup. Some markets with FOX RSNs now allow you to stream in-market games, but you have to use your username and password from your provider, meaning you are still paying for cable or satellite service.
Not sure which team or teams are blacked out in your area? Enter your zip code and see which teams aren’t available in your area based on the current rules and regulations.
The Bottom Line
So what’s the best option for the true fan?
If you live in the market where your favorite team plays, the MLB Extra Innings package is going to be the way to go. You’ll get access to every out-of-market game, and you’ll still be able to watch your team on the local regional sports network.
If you live outside of the market of your favorite team, give strong consideration to MLB.TV. You will save at least 35% versus the premium package offered via cable, and you’ll be able to take your games with you as long as you have your streaming device and a good internet connection.