MLB.TV 2018 Subscriptions Announced

The signs of the new baseball season approaching keep on being ticked off.

Sunday was the Superbowl and the end of the NFL season.

Monday was ‘Truck Day’.

Tuesday is MLB.TV Day.

The 2018 MLB.TV subscription details have been announced today and the headlines are:

1. The annual MLB.TV subscription price has marginally increased by $3 to $116, with a favourable turn in the dollar/pound exchange rate meaning that we’ll actually be paying a bit less this year compared to 2017.

2. MLB.com will be offering a team-based subscription alongside the main service once again; however there is some doubt over whether that will be available to non-North American subscribers.

Team-based confusion

Let’s start with the team-based subscription. This was introduced from the start of the 2016 season as one of the consequences of the Garber Settlement in which MLB had to agree to various concessions as part of settling claims around fans being blacked out of local TV in the States.

There were differing experiences for UK fans in that first year with some struggling to sign up and being told by MLB.com support staff that it wasn’t avaliable overseas, yet that confusion appeared to be cleared up last year.

Well, MLB.com is touting their 2018 team-based subscription at $89.99 but when I go to the main MLB.TV page it refreshes and then greys out the team option, replacing it with a ‘Not Available At Your Location’ message.

It seems that as the Garber settlement really only relates to US customers, MLB are taking the stance of forcing everyone else to go for the newly-renamed ‘MLB.TV All Teams’ package.  The difference in price between the two isn’t huge in the general scheme of things, but it’s a shame for them to take that approach.  For some fans it’s the ability to watch their chosen team that makes them want an MLB.TV subscription, especially if they already have the BT Sports channels so can get their fix of other MLB teams and the post-season that way.

All we can do at the moment is wait and see if they will revise their stance, but right now it looks like the team-based option may not be an option for us after all.

MLB.TV All Teams subscription

The main subscription is still there in its usual form and all its glory.  The stated price of $116 goes up to $139.19 when you select ‘GB – United Kingdom’ and they add VAT on top.  Putting that into a currency converter brings up the figure of £99.70, so let’s just call it £100 for the year.

The 2017 subscription was $135 inclusive of VAT and that worked out at approximately £108 this time last year, so it’s a welcome little saving for us after a couple of years of seeing the dollar/pound exchange rate going the ‘wrong’ way.

If you want even more baseball, once again MLB.com is offering you the chance to add a Minor League (MiLB) subscription to your basket at the check-out too for $25, half its usual price.  Add that on and with VAT it works out at $169.19, or £121.

What you get for your money is succinctly set out on the main MLB.TV webpage, but in short it is every MLB game in the regular season and post-season live or on-demand (we are exempt from the US/Canada blackouts) plus lots of games from Spring Training too.  You can watch the home or road TV coverage (where both are available), listen to home or road radio feeds and even combine the two if you prefer to listen to a team’s radio crew whilst watching the action.

MLB At Bat

The MLB At Bat app is worth an explanation as it can catch newcomers out.

There is a free version that you can download onto your usual Apple/Android devices that gives news and video clips and then a paid-for version that costs $20 (usually about £12-13) that allows you to listen to radio coverage of games too.  Importantly, the paid-for app itself doesn’t allow you to watch games other than the MLB Free Game (more on that in a moment).

To watch games you need to have bought the MLB.TV subscription, but the key thing is that once you spend the £100 on that you don’t have to pay for the app on top as it is included in the cost.  Simply download the free app and then go into the settings to link it to your MLB.com account.

Connected Devices

I remember getting ready for the 2008 season by buying a small Asus laptop and excitedly watching some of the Washington Nationals’ game from the brand new Nationals Park (I think it was the exhibition game against the Baltimore Orioles) thinking how wonderful it was to be able to watch baseball on a small device anywhere in the house rather than being tied to my PC.

It really wasn’t all that long ago, but the experience nowadays is completely different. Most of us have tablets and/or smart phones that allow us to watch ‘on the go’ and we also get to watch our online streaming content on our big TVs too.

MLB likes to refer to all this as ‘Connected Devices’ and that basically means devices that you can watch MLB.TV on.  It usually means going to the app store (or equivalent) on your chosen device, installing the MLB app and then linking it to your MLB.TV subscription.  However, if you’ve got a specific device that you’re hoping to watch MLB.TV on then do consult the full Connected Devices FAQ section on the MLB.TV Help Center.

Unfortunately, sometimes the MLB app is only available in certain territories and so you should check the details to see if the UK is covered.  A good (well, good isn’t the right word here) example is that the app is available in the UK on xBox One but isn’t available on PS4.  Plenty of people have asked the question as to why over recent years and haven’t found a good answer, although they often have found potential ways around it (I’ll leave you to Google that!).

Working on a budget

Firstly, MLB.com publishes huge amounts of highlights and ‘game recaps’ for free every day, so if you’re not ready to go down the subscription route straight away that doesn’t mean you can’t keep up with all the action.

MLB.com in recent years has had a Free Game feature that has meant that one game every day is available to watch online without a subscription. It’s going to be hit-and-miss with how many of those games involve your team and if they are at a convenient time for us to watch live in the UK, but it at least should give you the chance to catch a game or two every week.

More importantly, MLB.com always does deals during the season offering an MLB.TV at a reduced price.  Sometimes this is simply to reflect the stage of the season (e.g. buy it for half-price when there’s half of the season left to go) but last year in particular seemed to offer up some extra deals around holidays such as Mother’s Day.  If signing up at the full price is a bit of a stretch on your budget right now, relying on the free games and highlights for a couple of months and then keeping an eye on the deals might be a great way to go.

The TV option

If a dedicated baseball streaming service isn’t for you right now, the TV option for MLB in the UK remains the BT Sport channels.

You get a good number of games every week (8-10 most weeks) alongside other shows such as the MLB Network’s Intentional Talk.  The only breaks are a few weeks where College/Little League World Series games take up the baseball quota (to some MLB fans’ annoyance, but I quite like the variety) and when X Games coverage cuts into things a bit.

You just can’t go wrong

Every year I write this column and I try to think of a different way to sum up my views, but there are only so many ways you can say the same thing.

Quite simply, MLB.TV is an absolute dream for baseball fans. It’s an outstanding streaming service, hence why Disney have paid a fortune to buy the technical company, MLBAM, behind it that, other than the very occasional temporary glitch, consistently works extremely well.

As for the content, well it can be summed up as ‘all the baseball’.  There’s no compromise needed here, no paying for other channels or box sets that you don’t really want, you are simply paying for all the MLB games.  If that sounds like a great thing to you then £100 is likely to seem a fair sum to pay for it compared to the cost of other streaming services you may buy.

If you want to watch occasionally then the annual subscription probably isn’t quite for you; watch some free games and highlights to start the season off and then take advantage of a reduced-price deal in the second half of the season.

However, if you really love baseball then you don’t need telling.  MLB.TV is amazing and you will more than get your money’s worth through following your chosen team and dipping in and out of games on an almost daily basis.

Any questions?

If you’ve got any questions, or want to share your experiences of using MLB.TV in the UK, please leave a note in the comments section below.  If I don’t know the answer, chances are another baseball fan here will be able to do so.

EDIT 10 Feb: I’ve also added the main Twitter post about this article below, which includes various questions and replies that may be of use.

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37 Responses to MLB.TV 2018 Subscriptions Announced

  1. Roly February 6, 2018 at 9:14 pm #

    Thanks Matt, good summary as always.

    With talk of a potential strike I wonder how that would effect this. If a few months of the season were lost I bet us punters would be wanting a portion of the money back!

    • Matt Smith February 6, 2018 at 10:36 pm #

      Cheers Roly, yes, yet another reason to hope it doesn’t get to that! Think players will sign in the coming weeks and everyone will get on with it, but the issue will continue brewing in the background

  2. Kev Robson February 6, 2018 at 9:33 pm #

    Thanks Matt. Great review as always. Money’s tighter than usual for me this year but I can’t give up my MLBTV it’s such amazing value for money. Just wish they produced some series and documentaries along the lines of Hard Knocks and A Football Life the way NFL Films do.

  3. Matt Smith February 6, 2018 at 9:36 pm #

    Cheers Kev. Yes, MLBTV is quite high on my ‘last things I’d sacrifice financially’ list! As others have noted on Twitter, would be great if they included a way to watch MLB Network programming on it too

  4. Bob Gallagher February 6, 2018 at 11:42 pm #

    Thanks Matt, I’ve been keeping an eye out for your ‘unofficial’ UK MLBTV update (but UK baseball fans know full well that your update is ‘official’ for us). I was fearing the worst and that the price would get pushed too high for 2018 but ‘a ton’ for the whole season is great news.

    Keep up the good work mate!

    • Matt Smith February 7, 2018 at 5:42 am #

      Hi Bob – glad to help

  5. David McLaren February 7, 2018 at 6:59 am #

    Hi Matt,

    I had contacted MLB.tv a couple of years ago to ask about the app not being available on the playstation and was told that it wasn’t their decision not to, but PlayStation’s.

    • Matt Smith February 7, 2018 at 1:36 pm #

      Thanks for the info. Seems strange. Maybe they have to pay MLB a fee to include it or something? Can’t see a reason why they wouldn’t make it available as widely as possible

  6. Neil McCullough February 7, 2018 at 12:53 pm #

    Hi

    I’m thinking of signing up this year. One question I have is can you download archived games to iPhone/iPad for watching on the go as you can on NBA and NFL apps?

    Thanks for all your info above!

    • Matt Smith February 7, 2018 at 1:38 pm #

      Hi Neil – unfortunately no, that’s the one big thing that isn’t currently part of the service but many have asked them for it in recent years, so hopefully it will be included one do. Nothing currently to suggest it will be added for 2018 though, sadly.

  7. Roly February 7, 2018 at 2:07 pm #

    How much do people end up actually paying for this? I only ask as in previous years I’ve paid a little more than you work it out to be Matt (obvs this is dependant on the day you do they conversion.)

    I’ve just phoned PayPal and American Express to understand their exchange rates and got quoted:

    PP: £103.51
    AE: £103.14 (they charge a 2.99% fee)

    • Roly February 7, 2018 at 2:08 pm #

      I got those payments the wrong way round above…

  8. Alan Rogers February 7, 2018 at 2:39 pm #

    Hi, I was excited to find your site and the potential of being able to watch live baseball via MLB TV. I don’t consider myself an ‘old timer’ but I was disappointed when I lost the opportunity to watch live games after Channel 5 gave up on showing games and then my old NASN subscription was swallowed up by ESPN.

    I am seriously considering signing up for MLB.TV but am a bit unclear about the technology to view and wonder if anyone can help with my specific problem.

    I’d like to cast the games to my TV via Chromecast and was wondering if there was a way I could do this. Does anyone know if the MLB app has the facility to cast games to TV? Or whether I could watch the games via my laptop using Chrome as the browser and then cast the browser? Thanks in advance

    • Alan Rogers February 8, 2018 at 11:12 am #

      Just to let people know who may be thinking of doing the same: just paid my subscription for MLB.TV and casting to the TV from the “At Bat” app via Chromecast works just fine. Now looking forward to watching the new season.

      • Matt Smith February 8, 2018 at 1:04 pm #

        Hi Alan – good news. Meant to post a link to Chromecast details that re on MLb.com but glad you’ve got it sorted

  9. Martin Southard February 8, 2018 at 8:42 pm #

    I understood in previous seasons you could pay on a monthly basis. Does this option still exist?

    • Matt Smith February 10, 2018 at 11:54 am #

      Hi Martin – yes, you’ve been able to subscribe monthly in previous years. I know what they’ve done in the past is kept back the monthly option at the initial announcement, presumably to encourage more to sign-up for the annual price. I can’t see a direct link to the monthly option currently, but the promotional material for the annual sub refers to it being ‘best value’ (paying monthly all season normally works out a bit more expensive) so I’d take that as a strong indication the monthly option will be there again, you just have to wait for a bit (should be there before Spring Training games start).

      • Martin Southard February 14, 2018 at 10:29 am #

        Thanks Matt. Am I right in thinking the monthly cost of MLB.TV premium on IOS phone/iPad at £4.99 cannot be linked so you can watch it on consoles?

      • Craig R February 15, 2018 at 11:46 am #

        Paying monthly is a lot more expensive. IIRC last year it was $24.99 a month (+sales taxes) so would be almost double the price if you watched all season.

        Just got my renewal email, happy to be paying a little less due to exchange rates.

        If people are happy to wait until Fathers Day (June 17th in the US) Last year they did a £50 offer for the full MLB.tv package so can see them doing it again.

  10. Stu February 15, 2018 at 1:47 pm #

    Hi Matt, I’m just here to say thanks for the updates, it’s appreciated.
    Last year I waited till halfway through the season and got the reduced price, thinking of doing that again

  11. Rita February 15, 2018 at 11:00 pm #

    Hi Matt, I normally stream MLB tv via Playstation 3, however, I see that it is no longer supported. What device works best in the experience of other UK supporters?

    • Matt Smith February 16, 2018 at 8:04 am #

      Hi Rita. I’ve used a relatively inexpensive Roku box for years that works fine. https://www.mlb.com/live-stream-games/help-center/roku-requirements

      Chromecast appears to be a good inexpensive option too if you’ve got a smart phone or tablet to stream it from.

      • Rita February 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

        Thanks Matt for getting back.

        I’ll probably go with the Roku……looking forward to Feb 23. Hope the A’s surprise you this year, enjoy the journey.

        • Craig R February 16, 2018 at 12:47 pm #

          Also if your TV is a smart TV it may have the MLB.tv app either built in or available to install from the TV’s store page. My LG does and the player is fantastic. Can jump to innings, RW and FF etc.

          • Rita February 16, 2018 at 12:56 pm #

            Hi Craig, that sounds great, I would love it. Unfortunately my tv is not smart so it’s got to be through a device. Thanks for letting me know that.

        • Matt Smith February 17, 2018 at 3:02 pm #

          Thanks Rita. Not expecting a play-off run, but hoping the A’s can show some more progress. Hope you enjoy the season ahead.

  12. Scott February 17, 2018 at 9:50 am #

    Has anyone had a problem with viewing team schedules from the UK with the At Bat app? I’ve had this problem for the past two years.

    I assume that it is a time zone issue because night games are listed as the starting the next day (ie. a Friday night game shows as a double header on Saturday). So the schedule is a mess with extra off days in a row during the week. It’s not impossible to work out what days are game days but I wouldn’t have thought it was beyond the wit of the developers to fix this.

    I contacted the technical team last year several times but in the end gave up because they weren’t much help. I deleted and reinstalled the app without any difference.

    Any thoughts or advice would be most welcome.

    Thanks

    • Matt Smith February 17, 2018 at 3:06 pm #

      Hi Scott – yes, it’s an annoying feature that baseball-related apps and websites have been introducing over the past year or so, which I guess is well-intentioned. They convert the date/time based on your location but that just makes it more confusing than leaving you to work it out yourself (ESPN.com’s schedule is a nightmare for that, for example).

      I gave up in the end. I download the A’s schedule every month as a csv file and then create a version that works for me. You can find an example of that on this blog post about the A’s:
      http://www.baseballgb.co.uk/?p=20140

      Matt

  13. Rita February 17, 2018 at 3:14 pm #

    Hi Scott, I’ve never had this problem with At Bat.

    If I go to my home team page and click on the tv icon (top left) the game tomes are shown in local UK time.

  14. Scott February 19, 2018 at 12:28 pm #

    Thanks, Matt. It’s good to know that it’s not just me. However, it would be helpful if the developers would solve this problem. I can work out the difference between GMT and EST myself.

    Great site, by the way. Plenty of helpful information. My team only subscription from last year was transferred to this year but frustratingly I turned off automatic resubscribe so now my only option is to buy the full MLB.tv package. Customer support has been reassuringly unhelpful.

    • Matt Smith February 19, 2018 at 1:02 pm #

      Yes, it’s a pain to have to do it. I set up a spreadsheet with some macros in it to do it a bit more quickly at least.

      I did wonder what would happen to the team option if you had ppreviously subscribed and auto-renewed. Guess they’d still sell it to you but a shame if you ended up not having that option.

  15. Steve February 19, 2018 at 3:52 pm #

    Hey Matt,

    Love your site, it’s a great way to get MLB info with a UK slant.

    Do you happen to know when the spring training games update will hit the MLB.TV app? I watch on the Apple TV and it’s still showing last years calendar from the World Series, I cant advance past November. It’s almost as if the whole app needs an update to show this years calendar.

    The Jays first televised game is (I think) Friday, which would means that’s my Saturday night viewing sorted if the app updates in time.

    • Matt Smith February 19, 2018 at 4:04 pm #

      Hi Steve – thanks. Yes, I checked my Roku and xBox today and it’s still looking back at the World Series. That should be updated prior to Friday when the Spring Training games begin.

      They normally list the Spring Training games that are on MLBTV on the following webpage, although that’s not been updated as yet:

      http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/official_info/broadcasts/spring_mlbtv.jsp

      MLB.com Media Center does currently list the Phillies-Blue Jays game on Friday as an MLBTV game (rather than just radio commentary), it’s the only one that day. They haven’t updated any of the other days as yet.

      • Steve February 19, 2018 at 4:11 pm #

        Thanks! Good to know it’s not just my account/devices. Sounds like it’s probably in the works for this week at some point.

  16. micc February 19, 2018 at 10:24 pm #

    my Roku is showing a couple of warm up fixtures on Wed/Thur with no details so guess there not being televised and then 15 games o Friday so would assume a least some will be broadcast(looks like a couple of split squads as well)

    • Matt Smith February 20, 2018 at 9:29 am #

      The Wed/Thurs games are against college teams and the like, so not ‘full’ ST games. TV coverage can still be quite sparse of other games (currently looks like only the Phillies-Blue Jays game on Friday is being shown on TV) so you take what you can get really. MLBTV obviously can only show the games if one of the teams’ local network is deciding to broadcast it.

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  1. MLB Spring Training 2018 | BaseballGB - February 20, 2018

    […] you’re still considering whether to sign-up for an MLB.TV subscription, check out my guide to the 2018 packages (or package, in our case) and the growing number of comments from fellow fans […]

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