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FIVE US update

by Matt Smith

I posted a while back about Five’s plans to launch a new Freeview channel dedicated to American programmes (one of two new channels, the other being Five Life – dramas, soaps and the like).

Having speculated that this might result in MLB moving away from terrestrial TV, I’m pleased to say that this will not be happening (unless, of course, FIVE ever plan to ditch MLB altogether – fingers crossed they don’t!). A press release from 25 August states that FIVE US will air between 16.00 and 01.00. This will obviously rule out switching the Sunday and Wednesday night games.

Much as being on FIVE can cause frustrations at times (leaving play-off games early etc!!!), it’s in the interests of all baseball fans that MLB retains a presence on terrestrial TV. Otherwise it is very difficult to attract newcomers to the sport. The team on FIVE do a fantastic job bringing MLB to British viewers, and long may it continue.

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econ January 15, 2007 - 7:48 am

You can sign up for a season pass at MLB.com and watch streaming-live video of games (or archived if you miss them). The time difference might be a bit of problem if you want to watch them live. Also the quality isn’t great but it gives you access to every single game…video broadcast+radio broadcast.

baseballgb January 15, 2007 - 7:44 pm

I’m well versed in the joys of MLB.TV and don’t know where I would be with out it! I was a bit sceptical about the quality at first but prior to the 2005 season they showed a few spring training games for free and I was impressed enough to sign up. It’s not perfect and there are times when it can be unwatchable but during 2006 I would say that 95% of the time I had few or no problems. I would advise anyone considering their options in March to stretch to the All Access package which gives you radio commentary and condensed game highlights (normally a good nine/ten minutes per game) because on the odd occasion that the MLB.TV is playing up, you can switch over to the radio. In truth, if it’s late in the evening and I just fancy catching 30 mins of a game before going to sleep, I often find myself choosing the radio commentary anyway (and then staying up later than I intended).

As I said, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty close and considering the amount of games you can access, the value for money is terrific.

As for the time difference, there’s always a good choice of games at the weekend and on a Thursday that start between 6.00 and 10.00 in the evening British time and often if you fancy catching a game later on a weekday evening there will be something on. If you only want to follow your own team then it will get frustrating because night games will start at between 1.00 and 3.00 in the morning (not great if you’ve got to go to work the next day!). I find that on an average week I get to watch Oakland live twice (sometimes three times), but really I enjoy watching as many different teams as possible so I don’t mind. For the first seven years or so of following baseball I was limited to just watching two games a week on British terrestrial TV and it would be the same old teams on repeat while I would virtually never see some teams. Call me a sucker, but I like catching the Pirates, Rockies, Royals etc every now and then!

Although the TV coverage in Britain is fairly minimal, what we get is very good. MLB.TV is fantastic for baseball converts, but having a small TV presence is essential in helping the merely curious to become hooked.

Gruff February 10, 2007 - 6:39 pm

Nice blog only just discovered it. Regarding Five US we may see highlighted games, rather like what they do with the NHL at the moment. I to subscibed to MLB.com last year, now if there was some way i could stream the games to my TV !!

baseballgb February 10, 2007 - 9:24 pm

Hi Gruff. Thanks for stopping by.

Putting highlights on to Five US would be a good idea. For a start, it might be a good way to draw people into the sport without needing to stay up all night and watch for 3-4 hours.


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