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MLB.TV Subscriptions 2020

by Matt Smith

This article has been an annual tradition for many years, rounding up the MLB.TV offerings for UK-based fans. Yesterday’s announcement of the 2020 MLB.TV packages meant I needed to write up this year’s edition; however in truth, the excitement in doing so is not what it once was.

That’s not to suggest any reduction in my love for the service, or for baseball more widely. As I’ve written many times before, there are a lot of things I would give up if money was very tight before I even gave a thought to maybe cancelling my auto-renewal.

No, the issue here is that MLB.TV is so good that there is little scope for improvement.

Ten years ago this part of the pre-season was eagerly anticipated because we were waiting to find out what new features would be introduced. From promise of a potential HD-type quality, to Mosaic allowing you to watch multiple games at the same time, there was always something to get excited about. There were a few mis-steps along the way, such as the switch from Adobe Flash player to Microsoft Silverlight that soon gave way to HTML5, but generally the changes worked out for the better.

MLB Advanced Media were so successful in their development of their streaming capabilities that they become a lucrative world leader in the technology. For MLB.TV, they aced their refinement of the service over the first 10 years or so (2005 was the first year I bought it) so that, beyond technical tweaks behind the scenes and support for new connected devices, there isn’t much that they can add.

What do you want for your money? The ability to watch MLB games live or on-demand at a good video quality for a fair price. That’s exactly what we’ve had for years and that’s what we’re going to get in 2020. (And, just to be very clear, this is not a complaint!)

I’m sure there will be extras that could be introduced in the years ahead, especially in regard to incorporating StatCast data and graphics; however there’s nothing that the service really lacks. The biggest issue is the black-out rules in North America that block access to games depending on your location, often to a ridiculous extent. That situation has evolved slightly in recent years with some Regional Sports Networks allowing streaming access to the games if you are paying for their TV package, yet there is still plenty of way to go in knocking down what feels like an arcane policy.

It’s not a policy that applies to us, though, so we’ve always been able to access the full list of games, and that’s the case again in 2020.

This year, the US price has increased by $3 to $122. We have to add 20% VAT on to that so it works out at approximately £112.70 GBP, just a couple of pounds more expensive than last year.

It’s not yet entirely clear if the single-team package ($94, so approximately £86-£87) will be a North America-only product, but that’s been the (annoying) situation in recent years so I would assume so unless and until MLB officially confirms otherwise.

No great fanfare, no amazing new features, no complaints.

Just Spring Training games, every one of the 2,430 regular season games and all of the play-offs too live and on-demand for approximately £113.

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9 comments

Tom February 5, 2020 - 8:33 pm

I have noticed an additional audio feature. It is team specific but you have the option to just hear a trash can being bashed on every off-speed pitch. Which is a handy ?

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Matt Smith February 5, 2020 - 8:38 pm

Going to be a long season for Astros fans!

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John Bell February 8, 2020 - 3:04 am

I wish they would give us the option to buy MLB Network as an extra, that would be cool.
But, roughly the same price as last year with the same great coverage, it’s a no-brainer and spring training is just around the corner!

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Andrew February 11, 2020 - 12:56 pm

I agree its a no-brainer – but as John says, I would really like to be able to watch the MLB Network as well…just for 24/7 total immersion in baseball! Is there no way to see it? Does anyone know whether signed onto At Bat subscription on a laptop (via a VPN tunnel?) would work.

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Tom February 13, 2020 - 7:30 pm

Unfortunately MLB Network don’t stream their programs free to air even in America. You need to have a login with a US TV cable company.

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Roly February 11, 2020 - 1:57 pm

Hi Matt, always look forward to this article every Feb, long my the tradition continue!

Did we find out if the single team options is available for us this year? And if so does that include the playoff games for that team if applicable? Not that that matters for me mind, being a Phillies Phan.

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Tom February 13, 2020 - 10:00 pm

https://www.amazon.com/MLB-Advanced-Media-L-P/dp/B07XYHW8FK/ref=sr_1_3?keywords=mlb+skill&qid=1581630781&sr=8-3

This is another feature we miss out on. Currently I have to connect my iPhone/iPad via blutooth to my Alexa speaker. Then I can play the radio, or game audio, through that speaker. If we had this ‘skill’ for our Alexa speakers we could simply say ‘Alexa, play the Giants game’. I emailed MLB/Amazon this time last year and they had no plans to bring that skill to Amazon UK

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Tom February 18, 2020 - 10:54 am

2020 MLB.TV Spring Training Broadcast schedule…..

https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/springtraining

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Tom February 18, 2020 - 3:29 pm

Sorry. To be clear this page will update with this years fixtures but currently still showing 2019

Reply

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