- March 21, 2022
- Posted by: Dave DeJonge
- Category: Streaming Services
The 2022 major league baseball season is underway. Spring Training games are happening daily, and the regular season starts on April 7.
As someone who streams live TV, it’s challenging to see these games, especially if you live in Michigan and want to watch the Detroit Tigers.
Here’s a brief guide on different ways to view you can watch baseball games without a cable or satellite TV subscription.
An important thing to know is that “local blackout restrictions” are what causes this problem. This barrier is a byproduct of long-term financial deals between Major League Baseball, the baseball teams, and Regional Sports Networks (RSN). Frankly, it’s a relic of a bygone era and needs to go away. In Michigan, the RSN is Bally Sports Detroit (formerly known as FOX Sports Detroit), which is owned by Sinclair Broadcasting.
In a nutshell, the local blackout restrictions prevent people living in certain areas from watching baseball games of certain teams on specific viewing platforms. Typically, it’s the local team that can’t be viewed, and in the case of Michigan, it’s the Detroit Tigers. This applies to both home and away games.
Blackout restrictions are in place to protect the investment of RSNs that produce the TV broadcast of the game. The RSNs want you to subscribe to their partner’s cable, satellite, or streaming service.
With that understanding, here are the different ways you can stream MLB games, especially the Detroit Tigers, in 2022.
- DIRECTV STREAM is the only streaming service that carries Bally Sports Network Detroit, the TV home of the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Pistons, and Detroit Red Wings. The DIRECTV STREAM Choice package costs $90/month, though there are often deals. Today the Choice package is $80/month + taxes for 3 months. These games are not subject to blackout restrictions.
- Bally Sports Streaming App has not yet been released. It is expected in April, May, or June of 2022. While there’s no guarantee the streaming app will show the Detroit Tigers games, Bally does have the streaming rights in place. Also, there’s no word on the price. I expect it to be at least $20 a month. For further info, you can read about the details of the app and why the RSNs probably won’t be shown on YouTube TV or Hulu Live.
- MLB Network channel is on YouTube TV, Sling, Fubo, Hulu Live, and DIRECTV STREAM. During Spring Training, the network is airing multiple baseball games a day. However, the games are subject to local blackout restrictions. During the regular season, few games are broadcast.
- MLB.tv app airs the most baseball games of all streaming services, equally representing every MLB team. Now it costs $130/year or $25/month. However, local blackout restrictions are in effect across all the teams for all the games. One silver lining … blacked-out games can be viewed about 90 minutes after the end of the game as an “archived game.” So, you can’t watch Tigers games live, but you can watch them recorded.
- Apple TV+ signed a deal with Major League Baseball to showcase ‘Friday Night Baseball” in 2022. It will show a weekly doubleheader that is free from local blackout restrictions. Apple TV+ costs $5/month.
- ESPN will air 30 regular season baseball games this season, 25 of which will be on “Sunday Night Baseball.” The games will not be subject to local blackout restrictions.
- ESPN+ will air nearly one baseball every day during the regular season. However, the games are subject to local blackout restrictions. ESPN+ costs $6/month, though is bundled in a variety of ways with Disney+ and Hulu.
- Fubo carries Marquee Sports Network, the TV home of the Chicago Cubs. The games are not subject to local blackout restrictions. The cost is $70/month.
- A VPN on your computer or wireless gateway allows you to mask the geographic location of your computers or streaming devices. Doing so makes services like MLB.tv think you live in an area outside of the blackout restrictions. This is for advanced users only and may have unintended consequences on other Internet activities. A VPN costs roughly $60-$100/year.