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As I sit in my office knowing I won’t be able to watch the Nats game despite having an MLB.tv subscription, thanks to being, you know, in the area of the home team (like most people), I wonder if there’s something that can be done about it. Well, the Baseball Prospectus guys are having an Opening Day (or at I call it, Strassover) Round Table right now and I posed the question to them about what can be done. They took it up, so here’s what was said:

Comment From Charlie
Do you guys think MLB.tv will ever be blackout free? I, like most people, would love to watch my home teams games online at work, on on my iPad, or anywhere else. It’s not about NOT paying for cable or anything, it’s about viewing options! I assume this isn’t MLB’s call, but they’d probably have many many more subscriptions if people could watch the home team…

Colin Wyers: Ever? Probably. I wouldn’t want to bet on the timeline or what other changes would take place between now and then.

Larry Granillo: Charlie, as I saw someone say on Twitter yesterday, with the amounts of money networks are paying for rights now, I doubt it… at least not any time soon.

Jason Collette: The existing TV contracts teams have in place really make it unlikely to change any time soon. I don’t think offering a double secret premium version of it at an inflated price would fix the issue

Colin Wyers: What’s already starting to happen is partnerships with cable companies. Where if you have the channel on your cable, you can watch without blackouts. It’s very limited now, though.

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Jason Wojciechowski: I’m not optimistic about dumping blackouts. I think cable companies will end up wanting to sell their own streaming things. YES does this, right? And we’re seeing it in other premium markets, like HBO Go (though that’s free for subscribers at the moment).

Comment From Charlie (and yes, I typed this before the two previous comments were posted)
Any thoughts that local guys (MASN In my case) would stream to people who prove they have cable subscriptions a la HBO?

Jay Jaffe: I’d guess that’s where this is heading, Charlie

Dan Turkenkopf: YES sells it directly, but you have to already get YES on TV as well (I was just going through this last night).

Colin Wyers: I doubt MASN would do their own streaming – MLBAM is the undisputed expert. But they may have a “MASN pack” for MLB.tv where if you bundle them you get no blackouts.

Comment From Calen Murray
What if they did air the commercials that the local affiliates are airing… The company could charge more if they had figures on who is locally watching MLB.tv

Jason Collette: Here in Central Florida, the local cable provider has mobile streaming that you have to validate with your actual account but FSN isn’t one of the channels they offer

Colin Wyers: It’s not about commercials, it’s about subscriber fees.

So there you go, there is hope, but maybe not soon. If you have the opportunity (aka Twitter) you could always let @MLB know how much you want this sort of thing. It can’t hurt.

By Charlie