2012 MLB.TV details announced

MLB.com announced on Friday the subscription details for the 2012 versions of their multimedia services.

Baseball fans who have subscribed in seasons past will find that the range of features offered are predominantly the same as they enjoyed in 2011.

Prices have increased slightly, but this is in part due to MLB.com listening to their customers and making the MLB.TV Premium package more easily available on a wider range of platforms.

MLB Premium has increased by $5 to $125 for the year-long subscription, amounting to approximately £79.45. The standard MLB.TV package has increased by $10 to $110, which basically amounts to £70.

For fans in the UK, both packages provide live and on-demand access (audio and video) to Spring Training games, all 2,430 regular season games and all postseason games for the whole year. Fans in North America have a more limited, but still plentiful, choice due to blackout restrictions covering games being played in their home territory, games covered on national TV and all postseason games.

The increase in the standard price reflects MLB.com’s pattern of recent years of making the standard and premium services closely aligned.

That’s not necessarily what my preference would be: a slightly cheaper and more basic service would make for greater choice between the two packages and potentially encourage even more people to sign up.  However, while everyone would like a service for less money, I’m probably in a minority when it comes to being happy to accept a more basic service. The previous price rise for the standard service reflected the introduction of the highest quality, HD-style picture and for many users accustomed to watching games on TV, it is the picture quality that is key to enjoying the internet-streamed service.

In terms of features, the benefits of subscribing to the Premium service are the ability to pick home or road TV feeds (where available) and to use the Mosaic feature, which allows you to watch up to four games at once. The price difference therefore really comes down to the additional options that the Premium package offers in terms of using MLB.TV on other devices. Again, that probably reflects the majority opinion of what users want. They want a high quality picture with lots of features as standard, so the ‘Premium’ add-on is therefore greater usability.

That greater usability is directly shown in the price difference between the two products and it addresses one of the main gripes MLB.TV subscribers have had over the last two years.

MLB.com’s At Bat app is a wonderful bundle of baseball joy and the relatively high annual price ($15) hasn’t deterred many people from buying it each year. However, a substantial number of the people who enjoy the At Bat app are the same people who want to subscribe to the MLB.TV service. And there came the sticking point. The $15 app price included radio feeds for all games, but not the MLB.TV video streams. To access those through a mobile device, you had to pay full price for MLB.TV and then buy At Bat at the full price on top.

So the obvious answer, which has been implemented this year, was to provide an option to buy MLB.TV and At Bat effectively as one package. That’s where the $15 (the price of the At Bat app) difference between the standard and premium MLB.TV services comes in.

Whether that makes for a saving depends on what service(s) you bought last year. If you bought MLB.TV Premium and the At Bat app then you’ll save $10 overall, otherwise you’re probably going to be paying a little more.

The new pricing structure clearly makes sense from MLB.com’s point of view, learning from the experience of MLB.TV becoming an established service for many baseball fans.

They know that their standard product is a big draw, so the idea appears to be to price the standard and premium at a close level, adding extra usability (not just via At Bat, you will also be able to watch it through your XBox as well as other console devices this season) and extra games (you can add the Minor League MLB.TV equivalent for $20 – £12.71 – half its normal cost) to encourage as many people as possible to upgrade and spend those extra $15/$35 that really add up over thousands of subscriptions.

And that makes complete sense: the sort of person who is already keen enough – has budgeted for the cost and has the broadband capability – to sign up for MLB.TV will likely be happy to spend a little bit more to make a great service, that they are going to use on an almost daily basis, even better.

The Gameday Audio service – radio feeds and graphics that mirror a TV broadcast – also still comes in at a bargain $20, £12.71 for us. So if you can’t justify the cost of the MLB.TV route, or you don’t have the broadband capability, then MLB.com will continue to offer an excellent alternative.

Every year when the subscription details are announced, I’m always reminded that the simple fact that this service exists is an incredible thing worth celebrating.  The potential to pick and choose to watch or listen to any game you want, every single day of the baseball season and during the offseason as well, is a glorious luxury when the alternative is the very slim pickings offered by the British TV and radio route (although the coverage provided by ESPN America and BBC 5 Live Sports Extra is very welcome in itself).

At £70 or £80, it’s not exactly loose change for most of us, but then again it represents remarkable value for money if you use it to watch or listen to lots and lots of games over the course of the year. And let’s face it, why wouldn’t you?!

With the subscription details out there to be considered and budgeted for, all we need now are for the games to start. Roll on Spring Training and for getting home from work to drift away on an evening of relaxed baseball broadcasts from the sunny climes of Arizona and Florida.

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19 Responses to 2012 MLB.TV details announced

  1. Dominic February 14, 2012 at 1:10 am #

    Excelent news! I can’t wait to enjoy my first full season of baseball. A subscription to MLB.TV is one of the best Birthday presents I’ve had.
    Go Giants!!

  2. Matt Smith February 14, 2012 at 8:41 pm #

    Hi Dominic. I’m counting down the days! Should be another very exciting season.

    • GaryN February 15, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

      Hi Matt,

      Do you know whether the PS3 App will be available in the UK for the coming season?

      I’m with Dominic Goooooooooooooo Giants!!!!

      • Matt Smith February 16, 2012 at 5:28 pm #

        Hi Gary.

        Not sure, I don’t have a PS3. There were several comments about it on the article about the 2011 prices a year ago, so they might give an idea
        http://www.baseballgb.co.uk/?p=10116#respond

        If you hear any news on this, please pass it on via the comments.

        Cheers
        Matt

      • Gareth Pitman February 19, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

        Gary,

        Not sure if it’s officially available in the UK, but I used this workaround and it worked a treat.

        Set up a US PSN account. All you need is a separate email address and any US Zip Code for an address. They don’t do any checks so it doesn’t matter. If you have any trouble there’s plenty of online advice. Once done you can then go to the US version of the Playstation Store and get the MLB.TV app. Once installed on your PS3 there’s no need to use that US login again as the app is on your device, not linked to an account. Sign in with your subscription and et voila, you are in. It’s a great app too.

        Hope this works for you.
        Gareth.

        • GaryN March 5, 2012 at 8:40 pm #

          You’re a genius. Works a treat!

          Many thanks Gareth.

  3. Adam Clarke February 17, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    No info on whether it’ll be available through Apple TV this season, or have I missed it in the small print?.

  4. Luke Foley February 18, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    As far as I know it is available on apple TV a couple of guys on the team have purchased it…

  5. Chris February 18, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    “Prices have increased slightly, but this is in part due to MLB.com listening to their customers and making the MLB.TV Premium package more easily available on a wider range of platforms”

    Not so if you are a yearly member for 2011, at least so far as concerns the regular (non-premium membership) I have. According to an e-mail I got yesterday, “we are pleased to activate the annual automatic renewal of your subscription for 2012. Your subscription is priced at the same low, regular yearly price as last year – only $99.99 for the entire 2012 MLB season. That’s $10 off the full 2012 regular yearly price ($109.99). [… Then discounted offer for premium upgrade made …]. Unless you upgrade to 2012 MLB.TV Premium Yearly as described above, the payment card you have on file with us will be charged $99.99 prior to the beginning of live Spring Training games, on or about February 22, 2012”.

    So existing yearly members can roll over at the 2010/2011 prices at least on their basic membership. Existing premium members can confirm whether that is true of them also. However, this may also be partly because you can apparently no longer use basic MLBTV on smartphones or tablets, but I don’t do that anyway (it requires 2012 premium membership). The offer may well not apply to those who only had monthly membership last year.

    I have to say I think this is exceptionally good value. I wish the Premier League would do something similar. But they won’t.

  6. Stuart February 19, 2012 at 12:49 pm #

    Hi,

    Does anyone know if MLB TV will actually be available on Xbox 360 in the UK because right now the website for MLB TV suggests that it’ll only be available to customers in the US and Canada?

    Thanks,

    Stuart

  7. Luke Foley February 19, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    hey stuart it doesn’t look like it but i got round this a very simple way last year by simply creating another user id but stating that you live in the u.s.a and it works fine (although this was ps3)…

    • Luke Foley February 20, 2012 at 2:34 pm #

      me and gary posted with a minute seperating each other with exactly the same advice, very weird!

      • Stuart February 23, 2012 at 11:56 am #

        Thanks for your help. I’ll try PS3 way on Xbox and see if it works. Cheers.

  8. Ben March 1, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    It’s a shame that the PS3 option is now only available with Premium. Was part of the basic package last year.

  9. Damien March 15, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    Hello All,

    After contacting MLB.tv support they have confirmed that the Xbox 360 app will not be available in the UK, despite Microsoft’s original aanouncement that it would be, along with several other countries. Very disappointing.

    Regarding the creation of a US xbox live account, unfortunately they’ve cottoned onto this and geofenced away. I know this as I have had multiple region accounts for a long time, and it seems with the recent update I’m not able to download anything on my other region accounts now.

    We are region locked people! We’re trapped! ARRRRGH!!!!

  10. Matt Smith March 15, 2012 at 1:30 pm #

    Hi Damien. Thanks for checking, and passing on, the official line. From the outside, can’t quite see why they wouldn’t want it to be available to fans in the UK. Not sure what they would lose by allowing it. Strange decision.

    Matt

  11. Dean March 27, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    This is disgraceful. We should all be demanding a discount from MLB.TV. There is no reason for that app to be unavailable in the UK except for effort on their part. They marketed MLB premium this year heavily on the basis of the Xbox capability. The fact that it was only available to US/Canadian customers was relayed to us at a late stage, and it wasn’t obvious at all that that was the case.

    We are given a substandard version of a product that is the same price whether you’re in the US, or you’re in the UK. We should demand a discount.

  12. jordan March 31, 2012 at 9:37 am #

    Does anyone know if the proxy workaround used to get through blackouts will work for MLB 2012. I know it has worked in previous years but I have also read that they blocked the proxy usage last September. If anyone has used a proxy on MLB 12 or knows if it would work please let me know soon…

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