The 2017 MLB.TV subscription details have been announced today.
Once again we can sign up to watch and listen to every MLB game across the season, alongside Spring Training games and the post-season (the latter available to non-US subscribers like us, so not mentioned prominently in the promotional material).
The subscription includes the $20 MLB At Bat app to allow us to use one of any number of different ‘connected devices’ to follow the action, as well as directly through a PC/laptop/Mac.
Same great service, but a Brexit-inspired real-term price increase
The yearly subscription has increased ever-so-slightly on last year’s price, going up from $110 to $113 (note that it was $130 in 2015) and UK fans have to add the 20% VAT on top of that as we have done the past couple of seasons. MLB.com calculates that tax as $22.60 making a total cost of $135.59.
The main change for UK fans is nothing to do with MLB and instead comes back to the Brexit-bashing to the pound which has hurt the exchange rate our end.
Whilst last year’s subscription ($132 with tax) worked out at approximately £91, 12 months on the $135 will set us back £108. That’s a fair-sized increase for what predominantly will be the same service as last year and whilst that’s no fault of MLB, it will be something UK fans will take into consideration.
As I state every year, the service provided by MLB.TV really is fantastic and the ability to watch live or on-demand every single game across the season (plus Spring Training and the post-season) is something those of us who started watching baseball before broadband could only have dreamed of.
Whether the cost is worthwhile simply comes back to how often you will use it. If you just catch occasional games, especially if you already have the tv coverage via BT Sport, then £100+ may be a bit steep. If you use it to watch plenty of games (or at least bits of games) every week then it will prove worth every penny.
The new features are described as follows in the promotional details:
“The new array of features, debuting for regular-season games, includes a “team view” in which fans can designate a favorite team and enjoy a custom team-centric experience on supported platforms. Redesigned apps will launch on connected platforms Android TV, FireTV, Xbox and Roku. The HD media player, a responsive, in-page layout experience, will introduce additional playback controls, milestone markers and support for Chromecast and Chromebook”
A redesigned app for the Roku box will be welcome to me as that tends to be the way I watch through my TV, but otherwise the new features don’t look overly exciting at first glance. To be honest, there isn’t a whole lot MLB could add to the service as the reason to buy it is simply the ability to watch lots of games online, rather than too many bells and whistles adding to the mix. It does what it’s there for and does it really well.
Single Team subscription
Last year was the first time that MLB.TV offered a lower-cost subscription for people who bought the service to allow them to watch all of their chosen team’s games. That’s on offer again this year for $87.49, with the sales tax on top ($17.50) making a total of $105 and therefore costing approximately £84.
That’s the theory anyway. There were mixed messages last season as to whether the team package was available to non-US fans. The fact that the payment process allows you to select UK suggests that we will be able to buy this product but it will be good to get confirmation from other British fans in the comments to confirm.
World Baseball Classic excluded
One thing we do know is that the WBC this March will not be available as part of the MLB.TV subscription for us, even though it will be for US subscribers.
The same approach was taken four years ago. It was announced on that occasion that ESPN America (as it was known then) had got the rights for WBC and they did show the vast majority of the games live – with the rest on-demand – so it’s likely that BT Sport will be broadcasting the games this time around.
The rights to WBC are sold separately so it makes some business sense for the national broadcaster (whoever it is in each country) to get exclusive rights to show the event; however it is slightly odd that this international competition – designed to help sell baseball around the world – is only bundled into the MLB.TV subscription for those in the States.
Lots of baseball to enjoy
The annual full MLB.TV and Single-Team subscriptions are available to sign up to right now, with a monthly subscription option likely to be announced in the near future. Those of us on the auto-renewal list should see that take effect just before the Spring Training games get underway on 24 February.
If you have any questions about the subscriptions, please leave a note in the comments and either myself or other MLB.TV subscribers will do our best to help.