Archive for March, 2008

Unsatisfied Customers, Part I

A few comments from petition signers. First up, Brian:

I live in Oklahoma City which is 250 miles from Arlington, 350 miles to Kansas City, and 500 miles to St. Louis, and 680 miles to Denver. Why would Oklahoma be blacked out from viewing all four of those teams on MLB.TV? It is a minimum three hour drive to the closest game. I am not renewing my subscription this year because I cannot watch any of the games I want to see. If the black outs were lifted, especially for the Rangers, I would gladly shell out the money for the MLB.TV package.

Chris:

I live in Abilene, TX…only 165 miles from The Ranger’s Ballpark in Arlington, I know this because I make this trip as often as possible. The problem I have, I can only watch about half the Rangers games on TV here because of my cable provider…so, to get around this…I purchased MLBTV..only to find I’m blacked-out of the Ranger games I’d like to watch. That’s ridiculous in my eyes…I want to support my team as often as possible, even to the point where I payed an extra $110 bucks to watch the other half of the games I couldn’t see on cable. Please do away with these EXTREME black-out rules and allow the game of baseball to continue to grow

Al:

Dear MLB, I am an A’s fan who used to live in Boston, and I was previously a very satisfied customer of MLB.TV, to which I subscribed for 3 years. Now that I’ve moved back to the Bay Area, I don’t subscribe anymore. Why should I? To watch Royals games? Yeah right. And don’t even get me started on watching big teams like the Red Sox and Yankees… they get enough exposure as is. You see, I am a busy man and only make time to watch my beloved A’s. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or means to attend every A’s game in person, and I refuse to subscribe to cable television. I am the kind of niche customer to which you should be marketing your online services. I would love nothing more than to pay 100 bucks a year so that I can watch the A’s live anywhere I go on my computer. As you see, I demand, you just have to supply.

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March 30, 2008 at 3:49 am 2 comments

MLBlackout’s Thoughts on Proxies and Other Ways to “Beat the System”

For those who’ve been dismayed about MLB.tv’s blackouts, a common first response is to look for ways to beat the system and avoid getting blacked out. Yes, it’s possible to do this. Yes, we’ve read all the forums that describe exactly how to do it. Yes, we know how to use Google.

But, it is MLBlackout’s position that baseball fans (and paying MLB.tv customers) shouldn’t have to bother with these tactics to watch their favorite team’s baseball games. If you, an individual fan, want to do it, we understand and don’t blame you in the least. But, discussion of ways to circumvent MLB.tv blackouts won’t have any place at this blog, and any comments discussing, advising, or advocating blackout circumvention will be deleted immediately.

To us, it’s simple:

  • It is against MLB.tv’s Terms of Service, which every user agrees to when buying MLB.tv, to circumvent blackouts
  • Baseball fans shouldn’t have to lie, cheat, and steal their way into paying money to watch baseball games
  • Focusing on pressuring Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner to act now to abolish the blackout policy (which is in absolutely everyone’s best interests) is the best result for all fans of baseball and MLB.tv

Until that happens, what you decide to do about blackouts is entirely up to you. We hope that, regardless of what you decide to do, you join us in the effort to end the blackouts for everyone.

March 30, 2008 at 12:04 am Leave a comment

Welcome to MLBlackout: A blog dedicated to ending MLB.tv’s blackout policy

Fans of Major League Baseball everywhere have long understood the potential greatness of MLB.tv since the first game was streamed online in 2002. We could watch almost any game in the country live, with ever-improving video quality, anywhere we had a high-speed internet connection.

MLB.tv has failed to live up to this greatness for one simple reason, however: blackouts. Depending on which zip code a fan is in when accessing the MLB.tv, he is subject to games being blacked out if that zip code falls in one team’s (and sometimes as many as six teams‘) so-called “local markets”. These local markets often extend 300 miles or more, meaning thousands of fans are unable to watch their favorite team(s) play.

We don’t think this makes any sense, and we want to do something about it. This blog will serve as a hub for information and updates about the progress being made to end the blackout restrictions. And end they will, if only because Major League Baseball, and the broadcasters of Major League Baseball games, will come to realize that they are costing themselves revenue by failing to update a policy that stopped having any usefulness to anyone (the fans, the broadcasters, and baseball itself) sometime in the 1970s.

Along with MLBlackout providing updates, news, and fan testimonials about their MLB.tv experiences, we’ve also created an online petition directed at Commissioner Bud Selig (whose office is in charge of the blackout policy), asking him to begin taking the steps immediately to bring an end to blackouts on MLB.tv. The text of the petition is below, and can be signed here.

Dear Commissioner Selig:

We, the undersigned baseball fans, request that you consider an immediate end to Major League Baseball’s blackout policy with regard to games broadcast on MLB.TV.

There are endless reasons why current blackout restrictions are bad for fans, and bad for the game of baseball.

First and foremost, many of us are unable to enjoy watching our favorite teams, even after paying $89.95 to $119.95 for use of the service, simply because we live in, or are using the internet in, the wrong zip code. If a fan is in Minnesota, he can’t watch Twins games. If another is in Phoenix, she can’t watch Diamondbacks games. How does this make any sense?

Some of us don’t have cable television. Some of us want to watch games where there is no television, like in a workplace break room, or a school cafeteria, or a neighborhood cafe. Some of us are unfortunate enough to be in a zip code where blackout rules apply to multiple teams, sometimes as many as six. This is patently ridiculous. Why is it so difficult to get Major League Baseball to accept our money in return for showing us the games we want to see?

Disallowing paying customers the ability to watch their favorite teams wherever they are or whenever they can does harm to baseball, both in retaining current fans and attracting new ones. The current blackout policy is arcane, and serves absolutely no one’s interests: not the game’s, not the teams’, not the broadcasters’ of the games, not MLB.TV’s, and certainly not the fans’.

Please consider abolishing the blackout policy as soon as possible and begin taking steps immediately to make that outcome possible. Let us watch the game we love.

We thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Finally, we encourage you to subscribe to our RSS feed so you can stay up to date, and invite you to contact us anytime at mlblackout@gmail.com to share your blackout stories (and outrage), make suggestions, and chat about baseball.

March 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm Leave a comment


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