No Need for Cable, You Can Watch MLB Games Online & Over-the-Air
Cut the Cord but Keep Your Baseball
It’s almost summertime: a time for people to have cookouts, go to the beach and enjoy the warm summer sun. For many, however, summer means something completely different.
Summer means that the Major League Baseball season is just warming up.
Despite the plethora of outdoor activities that people can participate in, the allure of sitting in a well air-conditioned house while cheering on your favorite baseball team on television is all one needs to have a great summer. And now, for baseball fans, there are more ways than ever to watch MLB without the need for cable.
Today we will be taking a look at the channels that will be bringing you MLB action all summer long as well as the various ways that you can watch baseball both at home or on the go, so you will never miss a game even if you are forced to go to your yearly family reunion.
Channels and Upcoming Games
If you’ve decided to get rid of cable but still want to watch baseball, here are the channels you’ll need to have access to.
FOX: As with sports such as Football, Fox brings you the best MLB games all year long from your local teams. With Fox usually being a locally available channel, it is easy to catch games without cable through the use of an Over-the-Air (OTA) Television antenna for free.
- Upcoming games on Fox can vary depending on location, with games usually airing on Saturday afternoons. A detailed schedule can be found here.
FOX SPORTS: If the local Fox channels broadcast MLB games, then it should come as no surprise that so too does the Fox Sports Channel (FS1). This channel is available usually through special cable packages and can be streamed with multiple services.
- Fox Sports will be airing Rays vs. Yankees of June 7 PM EST, a rematch between these two at 4 PM EST on June 23, and Diamondbacks vs. Marlins on June 26 at 7 PM.
ESPN: ESPN is a name that nearly anyone can recognize in sports as they have been bringing you the best in athletic activities for a very long time. As you may have come to expect, MLB is just one of the many sports that ESPN has to offer.
ESPN has three weekly broadcasts during the regular season, which are: Sunday Night Baseball, Monday Night Baseball, and Wednesday Night Baseball.
- ESPN will be bringing you Tigers vs. Redsox at 7 PM EST June 7, Yankees vs. Mets on June 10th at 8 PM EST, and Mets vs. Braves on June 12th at 7 PM EST.
In addition to playing regular-season games, ESPN also broadcasts the Taco Bell All-Star Legends and Celebrity Softball Game, the Home Run Derby, one of two Wild Card Games, and several spring training games. The network also airs the highlight show Baseball Tonight.
MLB NETWORK: Does it really come as a surprise that of all the channels that offer MLB games, possibly the best is that of the MLB Network? This channel, which is usually available on cable with a subscription fee, has games airing nearly every day and is the best channel around for baseball fans.
- Of the games airing on the MLB Network, some of the best upcoming matchups include Orioles vs. Mets on June 6 at 1 PM EST, Rockies vs. Reds at 12:30 PM EST June 7, and Pirates vs. Cubs June 8th at 2 PM EST.
For More Information on Upcoming MLB Games, check out Sports Media Watch for a detailed schedule.
Watch Baseball with an Antenna
I would like to start off with the Free option. Most sports usually air their games on broadcast networks so sports fans can freely access it using an Over-the-Air antenna.
If you are looking for the most cost efficient way in which to enjoy some MLB games, then OTA HD Antennas are the way to go. These antennas offer you free access to a lot of local channels that are broadcast “over-the-air” in HD, including networks (such as Fox) that air Major League Baseball games.
With FOX, you will be able to catch 12 in-market regular season games, the All-Star Game, a division championship games (which one depends on the year), and the World Series.
The only drawback to the antenna method of viewing is that not all local channels will be available to you depending on your area, and sometimes reception of the OTA channels can be spotty. Yes, antennas do have their limitations, but for millions of people HD programming for Free makes it all worth it. And if you are looking for a cost-effective way in which to watch MLB, this is certainly the way to go!
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MLB on DirecTV Now
While holding the same name as satellite juggernaut DirecTV, DirecTV Now does not require a cable subscription to use. This app is available without the use of a cable box and can be streamed on many modern devices such as tablets, smartphones, and streaming devices.
Channel packages with DirecTV Now are also customizable, allowing you to choose the best channel package available to you for streaming MLB games. Check our DirecTV Now overview article or simply sign up for a Free Trial.
Watch Baseball With Sling TV
Sling TV offers TBS, ESPN, FOX (select locations), FS1 for live streaming. Sling costs $20 a month, has no lengthy contracts, and you get access to 20+ channels; in addition to TBS and ESPN streaming without cable.
Early season TBS broadcasts were a weekly occurrence last year, but in 2018 it seems there is some sort of airing rights discussions going on. Unfortunately, since TBS does not own the exclusive rights to the game, local markets are blocked from watching the game. TBS is free to broadcast another game as a replacement, but simply chooses not to; which has led to a great deal of criticism.
However, in the postseason the coverage is better. TBS broadcasts one of the two League Championship series; trading off between the National and American League each year. TBS also covers two of the four MLB Division Series; again trading off between leagues.
Sling TV may not give you complete coverage of Major League Baseball, but it goes a LONG way towards filling in the gap.
MLB on FuboTV
Fubo TV is, of all the streaming options, probably the most sports-centric option. This app is made for people who love sports, including MLB, as it includes many of the best sports-related channels that you would get in a normal cable sports package.
This includes ESPN, Fox Sports, and NBC Sports just to name a few.
Fubo TV is one of the few apps featured here that is not supported on a wide variety of devices, at least not yet as the app is fairly new. You will want to make sure that Fubo TV is available to your device before you decide to sign up for a subscription to the service.
For me, because I live in the bay area, I can watch my SF Giants on NBC Sports Bay Area.
Check out their free trial and learn which home team games you will have access too.
If you simply want to learn more, try reading our review of fuboTV.
MLB.tv & the MLB App
MLB App: Major League Baseball has its own streaming app available in which users can watch MLB games, view stats, and watch another interesting MLB-related programming. While this app obviously doesn’t carry any specific channels, it is probably the best app available for those with a passion for baseball and it is available on multiple streaming devices and gaming consoles.
MLB.tv: While FOX isn’t completely bereft of baseball, it is nowhere near sufficient for us die-hard fans. The easiest solution to your baseball woes is to subscribe to the service MLB.tv and watch Baseball online via any of your standard browsers.
For $99 you can access every regular season out of market baseball game for the rest of the year. Of course, the downside is that you won’t be able to watch any teams in your area. This blackout applies to away games as well as home games. So if you live in Atlanta and the Braves are in San Francisco, you still won’t be able to watch the game. What’s worse is that the blackout areas make no sense whatsoever. To figure out what games you would be blacked out from seeing, use MLB’s zip code search tool.
MLB on Hulu Live TV
Popular streaming service Hulu’s live television option is fairly new to the service, and as such limits its streaming capabilities a bit to which channels are available and which devices are supported. However, Hulu w/Live TV is one of the few streaming options that can sometimes include both local and national cable channels. This makes Hulu w/Live TV a very good streaming choice for those that are looking to catch MLB games both in and out of market. Learn more by reading our Hulu Live TV overview article.
MLB on Yahoo
They say the best things in life are free, and Yahoo is going the extra mile to prove it. For past seasons Yahoo aired 180 MLB baseball games online for free. That equals out to one free game every day. Not sure if they will renew this effort, but I sure hope they do.
Cord Cutting Baseball Fanatics Have Options
No longer will you have to be bogged down with expensive cable sports packages to watch all the home runs and strikeouts of the MLB. With any of the options above, you will be able to catch the baseball action from anywhere, anytime, all summer long!
Apart from apple pie and John Phillip Sousa marches, there is nothing more American than baseball. The Great American Pastime aged well in the last century and today still remains one of the most popular sports in the United States.
Baseball truly is a fantastic sport, and it is a shame that Major League Baseball doesn’t do more to expand access to their games. Between blackouts and cable bills, it’s enough to make someone want to give up on Major League Baseball altogether; but thankfully we don’t have to. Cord-cutters CAN watch Baseball Online!
Watching sports can be tough for the cord cutting sports fan, and no one knows this pain more than baseball fans. Sadly, cable networks and baseball executives have formed uncompetitive deals to limit the availability of baseball broadcasts in order to squeeze more money out of consumers. And they are making millions doing so, which means we can’t expect this to change anytime soon.
So what’s a sports fan to do? You could just suck it up and pay hundreds of dollars every month to the cable company. But before you go down that road, consider the options I have laid out today. It’s not perfect, or super easy, but there are alternatives you should test out.
As we have seen today, there are better options out there than submitting to the great media giants. While some content providers make it difficult, it is still possible to have an alternative to Cable TV, even if you are a sports fan. So what are you waiting for? Take the leap, cut the cord, and KilltheCableBill today!