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ESPN America MLB update

by Matt Smith

Watching games from the World Baseball Classic this past weekend was a treat in itself, but there was an extra bonus during some of the ad breaks.

The adverts for Spring Training games and then for 2013 Opening Day confirmed what we all hoped: that ESPN America are indeed providing their usual coverage of MLB this coming season.

That was exactly as expected. The little measure of doubt was caused by last week’s BT Press Release and the absence of an MLB mention in that is still a mystery.

Hopefully that will be solved in a positive way over the coming months.

As it is, subscribers can continue to enjoy MLB on ESPN America until the end of July at least.

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14 comments

Matt Smith March 9, 2013 - 10:18 am

That seems to be the way things are going for many sports, sadly. The governing bodies (MLB, Premier League etc) circulate gushing press releases when they sign lucrative TV contracts, telling us all what a great thing they are for the sports concerned.

They always gloss over the fact that these companies are paying the money for the rights as an investment and part of their business plans to get a return on that investment is to charge us fans more money to watch their channels.

It’s a good thing for the players and people owning the teams, but it’s often not a good thing for fans.

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Rob Smith March 13, 2013 - 10:26 am

One idea about the mysterious omission of baseball in the BT press release is that it simply could be that BT Sport did not see a mention of baseball/MLB as most pertinent in the brief summary of the sports covered on the channel.

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Rob Smith March 15, 2013 - 12:00 pm

If you click on “What is happening with ESPN?” here Major League Baseball is included under “Why has BT bought ESPN America UK? What sports are on that?”:

http://bt.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/43272/?s_cid=con_social_tw_sportfaqs

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Matt Smith March 15, 2013 - 12:44 pm

Thanks for this Rob. Confirms that MLB will be included. Still think it was a little strange to specifically mention college basketball and football in the press release rather than MLB (potentially NBA if they’ve got the rights to next season for that). I know college hoops and football are very popular in the States and have plenty of fans over here, but in a general press release you’d expect them more to focus on the ‘Major League’ offerings in coming across as more impressive to the casual sports fan.

Oh well, at least we know where we stand in terms of where MLB will be. Now we just have to wait for the BT Sports package details to be released.

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MarkO April 25, 2013 - 1:23 pm

This is tentative information, at best, but I’ve been told today by a BT You View sales rep that: (1) as far as he knows, current ESPN America programming, such as MLB, will be available on the new ESPN channel operated by BT, and (2) BT’s new ESPN channel will be available to Sky satellite subscribers as a premium service. We’ll see what actually happens as of August 1st. Hopefully we won’t be let down just as the pennant races start heating up! I’m making contingency plans, however, to acquire an iPad and an MLB.TV premium subscription.

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Matt Smith April 25, 2013 - 9:47 pm

Thanks for the update, Mark. We’ll have to wait and see what the final details are, but there’s good reason to hope that the ESPN branded channel will still show plenty of baseball. Looks like the main unresolved issue currently is for Virgin Media subscribers, who may well not have the option to but the BT Sports package. Fingers crossed for that to be sorted out.

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MarkO May 9, 2013 - 12:02 pm

BT Sport is holding its big PR launch event this morning. We’ll see if they disclose any info about upcoming programming content at ESPN. BT Sport has been sending out a stream of tweets, but so far the publicity just addresses the typical interests of British viewers (soccer, rugby, tennis, motocross etc). I’ve been tweeting back asking about MLB, but so far no response!

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MarkO May 9, 2013 - 1:09 pm

Well, they’ve posted the “Full Line Up” along with BT Sport 1 and 2 and ESPN logos at the BT Sport website ( http://www.bt.com/sport/ ), and there’s no sign yet of any North American sports. All that’s displayed so far in the Full Line Up are the logos of the typical soccer, rugby, tennis and auto-racing leagues/federations.

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Matt Smith May 9, 2013 - 8:50 pm

Thanks for your comments Mark. I’ve just put a new post up summarizing what we know (and what we don’t!).

MarkO July 23, 2013 - 10:27 am

**Bad News*** concerning ESPN. I’ve just spent 30 minutes trying to get my BT Sport subscription in order (as an existing Sky TV and BT Broadband customer), and I’ve been advised by BT that ESPN will only be available to “high-value” BT Fibre-Optic customers, not to normal BT Broadband customers. As of 1 August, ESPN (including MLB coverage) will not be available to normal Sky and BT Broadband customers. It therefore seems that 99% of us will only have access to MLB via our IPads through MLB.com !!

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MarkO July 23, 2013 - 11:36 am

As a footnote to the above, I’ve just had further discussions with BT about upgrading to their Fibre Optic Broadband service specifically so that I can access the new ESPN channel. More bad news….the Fibre Optic service is not available on my exchange in central London…..ironic since I can see the wonderful BT Tower from the window of my flat. Bah humbug !!!!!

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Matt Smith July 23, 2013 - 6:19 pm

Thanks for the update, Mark. Add on that there still seems to be no agreement between BT and Virgin Media and it’s not looking to be a perfect situation, by any stretch of the imagination.

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MarkO July 23, 2013 - 6:20 pm

Apple TV- I’ve just procured an Apple TV device which should allow me to stream all games through my home TV system via MLB.TV. Other low-cost devices which allow this reportedly include the Roku and Xbox 360. Perhaps it’s worth prominently posting generic instructions at the GB Baseball home page about how to do this, since I imagine a large portion of the UK baseball community is in for a shock on August 1st when viewers begin to realise the very limited access being provided by BT Sport to its ESPN channel….only one TV set per household, with the ESPN channel exclusively available to BT Fibre-Optic Broadband customers only.

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