Will Astros Games Soon Be Viewable On Your IPad? Maybe

Categories: Sports

MLB's Advanced Media is a great option for watching games, unless it's your home team
The Associated Press reported last week that Major League Baseball may be close to ending parts of its idiotic blackout policy that prevents people living in a team's home market from seeing that team's games. Calling it an incremental step, the head of MLB's online business, Bob Bowman, stated that people would be able to stream the home team's games on mobile devices or through online services such as MLB.TV.

There's just one slight catch, however. For fans to watch the games of hometown teams on their iPads or through MLB.TV, they will have to prove that they have a subscription for a cable or satellite operator that carries that particular team's regional sports network. And if you're thinking, hey this does me no good because I have DirecTV and DirecTV doesn't carry CSN Houston, well, you're right, it doesn't do you any good. And if you live in Las Vegas and wonder why you have to subscribe to the costliest DirecTV bundle option just so you can watch the Padres, well, you're still equally screwed.

"Everyone's trying to solve it," Bowman told the AP. "If our hands were 4 feet apart three or four years ago, they are now 6 inches apart. We're moving in the right way. We continue to talk. The dialogue is professional."

Major League Baseball is arguably the best of the professional sports when it comes to on-line presence and to make games available to fans. MLB.TV is incredibly affordable, and it allows subscribers the option of home and visiting team TV feeds for every game. If you live in Hawaii, and yet are still a fan of the Astros, you can just log on and watch the Astros games every afternoon. Dodgers fans living in Buffalo can go to sleep to the light of a Dodgers game on their iPads.

There's just one problem, if you like the Astros or Dodgers and live in Houston or Los Angeles, then you can't watch the Astros or Dodgers because those games are blacked out in the home team's designated TV territory.

The reason for the blackout is simple: regional sports networks pay millions and millions of dollars for the rights to televise a team's games, and they depend on the dollars that come from advertisers trying to reach a huge group of viewers watching a live event where commercials can't be fast-fowarded through to recoup the money going to the teams. And the teams depend on the dollars provided by the RSNs to better their financial positions: there's no need to worry about fielding a wining product when revenue comes from a monetary figure that stays steady every year as opposed to a revenue stream that can vary widely each year on the basis of the team's performance.

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