Baseball is officially back! After a 99-day lockout, Major League Baseball and its players’ association have reached an agreement to resume baseball operations. A flood of offers soon followed as teams handed out $1 billion to free agents when the lockout ended: Former MVP Freddy Freeman went to the Los Angeles Dodgers; Nick Castellanos landed with the Philadelphia Phillies; and Carlos Correa has found a home with the Minnesota Twins.
With an abbreviated spring training schedule, Opening Day kicks off the action on April 7. Are you scrambling to figure out how you’re going to connect to the MLB season? Here are some of the best streaming options available for the American hobby.
For the baseball fanatic: MLB TV (now with one month free trial)
Price: $129.99 for the year (pay for the plan in one payment), $24.99 per month (free trial: 7 days; can cancel after each month)
If you are a baseball fanatic, this is probably the package you should buy. It’s probably the most profitable service if you plan to track through MLB’s long 7-month, 162-game season.
Beyond MLB TVs Reasonably priced, it does a good job of capturing the fan experience from home. Fantasy baseball fans in particular can take advantage of the split-screen feature that allows users to watch multiple games at the same time. There’s also a live pitch tracker that shows where each pitch was located in a given at-bat, as well as the type of pitch. Unlike other professional sports league TV packages, MLB Television also streams the playoffs at no additional cost.
The big disadvantage of MLB Television: Concealment games. If you’re in the same area as your favorite team, you won’t be able to watch live on game day via MLB TV. This is due to local broadcast rights for other services which prohibit MLB Television to broadcast matches live on the television territory of the clubs.
If you want to avoid blackout games: YouTube TV (now with a two-day free trial)
Price: $64.99 per month for the basic plan (two-day free trial; can cancel after each month)
YouTube Television has a user-friendly interface that allows customers to customize their preferences, DVR games without any storage limit and rewind in real time. One of its best features for sports fans? If you jump into a live match that has already started, you can watch a summary of what happened before logging in. If you don’t have time to watch a four-hour baseball game, YouTube Television helps speed up entertainment without any drop in gaming action.
The price is higher than MLB TV’s monthly and annual plans, but includes the MLB Network in its basic package. YouTube Television also helps fans escape blackout games by granting access to local networks, which is a plus for those who want to watch games in their area. The basic plan gets you Fox, NBC, ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN U, Fox Sport 1, Fox Sports 2 and more. This covers your bases – pun intended – for national games. YouTube Television did not respond to a request for comment on its pricing model.
If you want more than sports: Hulu (with Live TV add-on)
Price: $69.99 per month, includes ESPN+ with sports package
Hulu is a better option for those who want more from their TV experience than just watching sports. Although it doesn’t offer the MLB Network in its basic plan, Hulu has a unique customization process that allows users to track exactly what they are looking for when they click on the app. It’s also owned by Disney, which offers ESPN+ with its sports package. Fans can access ESPN’s live feature films, documentaries and select games by signing up for Hulu’s live TV package.
MLB fans can get everything they need for their baseball fix with Hulu if they are just looking to watch games from home. DVR storage ranges from 50 to 200 hours, which is enough to record all your favorite local games. It also includes Fox Sports, ABC, TBS, ESPN and ESPN 2 – which should also have you covered for domestic games. Hulu did not respond to request for comment on its live TV pricing model.