St. Louis Cardinals’ Dewitt III: expansion could come soon


Sunday, at the Q&A the United Cardinal Bloggers had with the St. Louis Cardinals Team President Bill Dewitt III and GM John Mozeilak, a question was posed regarding the expansion of and the move away from the current Cable/Satellite model. Dewitt explained that the curent cable/satellite model of televison is highly beneficial towards professional sports and he would definitely not like a change in the direction of cord cutting, but he recognizes the change towards more streaming options in television. He then went on to discuss the current model of, of course praising the format and conveience of the utility as well as noting the affordability of the service. Dewitt noted that the MLB is currently in negotiations with cable providers and Regional Sports Network about the potential expansion of the service to potentially allow for in market use.

Currently the format of is only good for out of market use. Meaning, that if you live in St. Louis or anywhere near St. Louis (no matter the driving distance) you will not be catching the Cardinals games through the application unless you want to wait to watch the game 90 minutes after completion. Dewitt said, that he has an exception that allows him to view Cardinals games regardless of his location, which is no surprise given his title and ties to the organization. He also noted, that he expects to see a resolution of these negotiations as early as the All Star Break or as late as the beginning of next season. According to Chris Morran’s article on Consumerist, Commisioner Rob Manfred also sees in-market streaming coming soon and hopefully this season.

This is great news for baseball fans everywhere. The current blackout rules are really bad and really outdated. I live in a town that is about two and a half hours from St. Louis on a good day with no traffic. I am also about five hours from Chicago. The blackout policy of currently states that I am blacked out of viewing both Chicago teams and the Cardinals just by virtue of my geographic location and the state that I live in. Blackout rules are in place to encourage fans to attend games in person and to keep fans locked into agreements with cable and satellite companies.

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In my current location, I am not inclined to on a whim go attend any of these teams games. Also, last year my wife and I tried to live life “cord free” having only internet and streaming subscriptions I would have gladly paid for had I been able to watch the Cardinals games regardless of my location. There are people who are even worse off than I am in terms of teams they are blacked out from. Some people live in states where there is no team in the area and yet they are blacked out from watching several teams. Now that we are in a different location, I took the jump into a contract with DirecTV, a move I have not necessarily regretted as I do enjoy the lower price and good programming. However, there are times where mabye I am not able to watch a game on TV, that would be nice to watch the game via my laptop or mobile phone and blackout restrictions keep me in the dark.

My hope in all of this, is that regional/local blackouts are lifted from TV as well as the digital format. For example, last night the Cardinals game was featured nationally on MLB Network as they were featuring their new statcast, the game was also broadcasted locally on FSMW and on MASN in the Washington Nationals viewing area. This resulted in fans of both teams who lived locally were unable to watch the new statistical format that MLB is highly promoting. This was highly disappointing and a bad move on MLB’s part to not make this a nationally televised game giving the RSNs a night off.

Hearing it come from someone highly involved in MLB has got me excited and looking forward to the future of streaming. What are your thoughts on the updates of the sports streaming world?