St. Louis Cardinals’ fans, how you watch Cardinals’ games may be different from now on.
According to a report via Forbes, many teams’ games will now be able to be watched on any mobile device or computer, without having the avoidance of the blackout. Fox and MLB have reached a three year agreement that allows current cable/satellite subscribers of the Fox Regional Sports Networks to watch their games via the Fox Sports Go app, just like you would a game being broadcasted on Fox or Fox Sports One. This is a huge step in the right direction to getting rid of the silliness that is regional blackouts.
Due to the St. Louis Cardinals’ games being broadcasted via Fox Sports Midwest, the Cardinals are one of fifteen different teams having the ability to be watched online without blackout restrictions. As a fan who loves to watch his team, but also values spending time in areas where a television or FSMW may not be available, this is pretty cool.
However, it is just a small step in the process of getting rid of the local blackouts altogether, as fans will still not be able to watch in market games via MLB.tv or the MLB At Bat app. If you remember right, I had the opportunity to be a part of a Q & A session with GM John Mozeliak and President Bill Dewitt III earlier in the season.
In that Q & A session, Bill Dewitt mentioned that MLB was moving closer to allowing users to watch games via MLB.tv in market. While this is not that, it is a good step in that direction. The blackout policy is severely outdated and punishes fans in both markets, as fans in areas like Iowa are well aware.
Ultimately, I think that MLB will reach some sort of agreement to offer this up for fans, as this is a big thing to bring fans back to baseball. Allowing fans of all walks of life and areas to watch the game when and where they want.
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Professional sports leagues and cable companies are losing momentum in the regional blackout realm, as lawsuits are popping up and gaining traction. Recently, the NHL came under a lawsuit pressure from a group of fans regarding blackouts, and then decided to reach settlement allowing fans to purchase a single team plan, but still keeping in market blackouts for NHL Gamecenter Live. The NFL ditched their local blackout policy this season, becoming the first professional sports league to do so.
For myself, this would be a kicker in cutting the cord. I don’t watch much that I cannot access online, so having the two sports I watch the most (Baseball and Hockey) available online without restrictions would be great.