Earlier in the week I wrote about the sagging TV ratings for the Blue Jays this season. In doing so, I attempted to offer some reasons, beyond an poor on-field product, that viewers are tuning out, much to the certain dismay of an ownership that was dreaming very big back before the season started, when Rogers Media president Keith Pelley told Michael Oliveira of the Canadian Press that “the Blue Jays decision to add money and payroll was not in isolation, it was done in a decision that, if we can play meaningful games in September, what that will do to Sportsnet.”

“[Last year's final] numbers of 507,000 would creep up to in the neighbourhood of a million viewers,” Pelley suggested at the time.

So much for that, eh? And obviously the driving factor in the disappointing numbers is how the club has played, but in the course of theorizing about what else may have factored in, I mentioned cable cutters and Rogers’ own digital streaming service, Rogers Anyplace TV (referred to interchangeably, I think, as RogersOnDemand), which I admitted some confusion over. I wrote:

This season Rogers pushed a number of digital-only viewers away from their in-house services, restricting access to Jays games on Rogers Anyplace TV to only those with cable subscriptions to the channels airing the games, having previously allowed anybody with any sort of Rogers account to watch. At least… from my limited understanding that’s what’s happened– please correct me if wrong.

Thanks to a forwarded email exchange between a reader and a Rogers rep, I am much less confused on the matter. Thing is, now it’s more like outraged.

Or… OK, I’m actually not outraged at all (thanks for clicking to read the rest of the post, though, sucka!), but there definitely appears to be something weird going on in all this.

Some background:

The reader had been using Rogers Anyplace TV to watch Jays games since the service began in 2011, but recently– as many around here have noted, and as I referred to in the TV ratings post– he has been unable to use it. He is a Rogers internet customer only, and explains in the full exchange that he doesn’t have a TV, so he isn’t interested in adding a cable package to his account, which would enable him once again to access the games.

After contacting Rogers to complain about the sudden disruption of service that he had been making use of since 2011, our reader is told this:

I was able to confirm with my contacts that to have access to Blue Jays Live you must be either a SportsNet or a SportsNetONE subscriber depending on which “channel” it is being displayed on. You were able to receive the feed of these games in the past, but this was due to a profile error. An audit was done on our Rogers Anyplace TV profiles and it has been recognized that a few had access to services they were not subscribed too.

I apologize this has impacted you this way and your ability to view these games as a true fan.

Seems simple enough, right? Except that, if you remember, or have since read the press release that breathlessly announced the Jays’ inclusion in the Anyplace TV service, it would kinda seem to be a giant load.

Seem that is.

I wrote about the release back in March, when readers began alerting me to what appeared to be changes to the fine print on the Blue Jays Live homepage. At the time I linked to an external site’s copy of the release, but it turns out it’s still available on the Rogers website, dated August 2nd, 2011, and includes the following passage, which I highlighted in the post:

Helping keep Toronto Blue Jays fans connected to the game across the country, Rogers On Demand Online is available to any Rogers Cable, Wireless, Home Phone or Hi Speed Internet customer at no extra charge. Customers can visit rogersondemand.com and register with their account information to watch live Jays on Sportsnet coverage at no charge starting today as the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Tampa Bay Rays at 7:00pm EST.

So… profile error? Sure doesn’t sound like games were viewable in the past due to an error. And our reader, hero that he is, points out exactly this, and links to the release in his follow-up email with the company.

Their reply?

I certainly do agree with you that the original release of Rogers Anyplace TV provided Live Blue Jays feed to anyone who is registered for this service; regardless of what package or service they are subscribed too.

The intention since the beginning was to ensure that they are subscribed to the channel that provides this feed as there is licensing agreements for this. It was not until 2012 that this was rectified and the details requiring the subscription was available on our Rogers Anyplace TV and with our internal resources when used to promote this product.

It was recognized this past May of 2013 that some accounts with Rogers AnyPlace TV were not compliant with the above terms. Based on this an audit was fully completed and access to services that you are not registered too have been de-authorized.

That’s… odd. They intended all along to only allow this service to customers who already paid for a cable package including the stations that broadcast the games, but they didn’t bother to mention it on their website or in their materials promoting the service for five months or more? And then they waited another year before actually doing anything about it?

I mean… at least it all sounds more inept than it does malicious– unless, of course, you think Rogers was just trying to get fans hooked on their digital-Blue-Jays-games crack, only to start jacking up the price once folks became addicted to the sweet delicious high of this new, cable-free world. Which… maybe?

But there’s a saving grace in the release for Rogers, which I suppose has to be unfortunate for those who were hoping to have this service ever come back– or, like our reader, kept on using Rogers as an ISP specifically for it, only to see it taken away. (It should be noted that, later in the exchange, the company agreed that our reader wouldn’t be penalized for cancelling his account over the sudden loss of this expected service).

Right at the very top of the original release, it says this:

Rogers Communications Inc. is giving fans more ways to root for theToronto Blue Jays. Starting today, any Rogers customer can catch live streamed Rogers Sportsnet coverage of every pitch, hit and home run of the remainder of the 2011 Toronto Blue Jays regular season games anywhere they want through Rogers On Demand Online and on their smartphones with Rogers On Demand Mobile.

Dispiriting highlights mine.

So… it would seem to me– or at least seem plausible to me– that Rogers really did mean to offer the service to all customers for the final two months of 2011, perhaps just as some kind of a free preview, with the intention of scaling it back the following year. And the fact that customers were able continue accessing it through the 2012 season and into parts of 2013 was just a bit of good fortune.

I don’t particularly want to side with fucking Rogers on this one (full disclosure: they are still not my damn employer, figure it out already, please), and the original press release certainly isn’t entirely clear– aaaand they seem to have downplayed the “rest of 2011″ part and emphasized the “we’re doing this really super awesome thing for you” bit, or at least in my selective reading they did. But I just don’t think they promised streamed Jays at no charge to all customers in perpetuity.

Or at least they can probably get away with saying they didn’t.

Would be cool if they did, though, eh? Because, I mean… seriously… cable?

Comments (79)

  1. The increase in attendance has to be a reason that viewership is down.

    An extra 70,000-100,000 people who are in the stadium who were probably be more likely to watch, would definitely lower tv ratings

    • 70k-100k per month not a game obviously

    • I have to disagree. I think those things are positively correlated, not negatively correlated. Especially amongst the more serious fans.

      And the young girls running around the Dome cheering popouts because “he hit it in the air” weren’t watching at home either way.

  2. I get Sportsnet but not Sportsnet One. When the Jays and O’s were on SN1 a few weeks ago, I made a free MLB.TV account and utilized a 2 week preview offered to me for #RaiseTheBar-ing. I was stunned to discover that I was able to watch the Jays and O’s games on the Orioles feed in HD on MLB.TV from my home in downtown Toronto. I wasn’t able to access the Sportsnet feed though.

    Long story short, the blackouts on MLB.TV seem to be wacky.

    • Listening to Rick Sutcliffe and Gary Thorne is still far less torturous than Buck and Pat, who, if I’m not mistaken, spent that entire series drooling all over Machado, Chris Davis and Adam Jones.

      That said, I have heard from a number of friends with MLB.tv that the blackout restrictions have been somewhat ‘off’ at times this season. A friend of mine who lives in the GTA watched last night’s game on MLB.tv and had the Astros feed because for some reason the game wasn’t blacked out. To be honest, I was a bit jealous as I do not have MLB.tv and I’d much rather listen to Ashby than Buck and Tabs…

      • I haven’t said anything publicly because I didn’t want to jinx it – but I haven’t had a single local game blacked out for me on MLB.tv this year that should have been (now I don’t watch every game that way – but have certainly watched dozens). Choice of feeds (including SN), on a variety of devices (iphone, ipad, computer, other people’s computers).

        It’s improved my life immeasurably to be able to catch games at the office or when away from my TV – Keep up the incompetent geofencing MLB!

    • I live in Fredericton, NB. I’ve been able to watch every Jays game on MLB.tv without having to find a blackout workaround. I’m a cord cutter (I’m with Bell Aliant), so this is fantastic.

  3. Not sure if this is related or not, but I tried to use Anyplace TV to watch a game the other night and it wouldn’t let me – I got a message saying “You need to be subscribed to Sportsnet One to view this game”. This was particularly odd because:

    1. I am subscribed to Sportsnet One, and
    2. The game was not being broadcast on Sportsnet One

    I then waited 40 minutes to speak with a Rogers rep until I just said “fuck it” and went to do something else with my evening. What a load of shit, though.

    • I use to be a Rogers cable subscriber and would get this message everytime I tried to watch a game on Anytime. I found if you log off and log on again it allows you to watch the game (had to do this for each game).

      • Tried this, didn’t work for me.

        I also tried to use a different browser and a different computer altogether, still didn’t work.

    • Same issue here. Except I’m not a SN1 subscriber, but then it doesn’t matter since the games weren’t beoadcasted on SN1 to begin with.

  4. rogers are greedy cybourgs

  5. Thank you for this much needed post!

    Next can we figure out if MLB.TV Jays games are blacked out in the GTA? You have several readers who insist this year that they are not blacked out (even without changing thier IP address).

    I want to be a cable cutter, but the Jays thing is holding me back.

    • +Over9000!!!

    • Not sure what rules are on posting this kind of thing, but look into unblock-us. Cable cutting is liberating. I have been fully divested of Rogers products for about a year and it feels great.
      Still can’t believe they put up a statue…..

      • The man, his vision and the eventual execution of that vision should be commended; not his fault that his company has since been turned into one of the biggest scumbags in Canada.

        • Commended with a statue outside the Rogers building maybe…. but at the dome? much less…

          • That’s fair.

            The statue is just begging to be vandalized.

            • I’d offer to vandalize it…but I live in Alberta.
              Ted-fucking-Rogers wasn’t even a baseball fan! And he was a money-hungry business man. I’d say the statute is a disgrace.

    • As stated in my other post, I have been able to watch every Jays game this year through mlb.tv without the use of a proxy/workaround.

  6. There’s also another problem.

    Starting with the Dodgers series, I’m no longer able to stream the games on RoD/ATV as it said the games are available to SN1 subscribers only, even though the games were being broadcasted on the regular SN.

    Not everyone is getting this error, but I know I’m not the only one.

    RoD/ATV is such crap, there is no definitive guidelines as to who can watch and who can’t. Also as of right now, it seems like it’s a crapshoot as to who still has access and who doesn’t.

    Get your shit together Rogers. They’re very close to losing me as a customer, especially knowing now that mlb.tv is no longer blacked out in the GTA.

    • It will be blacked out, only a matter of when. The more people talk about the fuck up, the more pressure there is for it to be corrected.

      • Do we know if it’s really a fuck up though?

        • That’s my belief. My understanding of blackouts is that they are used as a way to prevent people bypassing established channels for watching sports – namely local TV rights and, for NFL, buying tickets to non-sold out games. When we are not watching Rogers-approved content (read: ads), we are effectively bypassing the system. The fact that MLBTV’s blackout policy has not changed recently (and that this is affecting even people living in the GTA) is evidence that something is not right.

          I could just be missing something (e.g., differences in Canadian broadcast policy that were only realized/changed this season). Anyone have any insight?

    • I’m wondering if this is a fairness clause in Rogers’ contract with MLB or even in a gentleman’s agreement with BellMedia or other cable companies, or even the CRTC.

      Rogers and Bell are in a sitation where they can offer their cable content to others who do not subscribe to the cable content. For example, Rogers can give its cellular or internet subscribers its cable content without having them have to subscribe to its cable, and Bell could do the same thing. This gives these two companies a competitive advantage over Wind, Telus, Cogeco, etc because of their cross-media ownership.

      The ability to broadcast Jays game and give it to Rogers cellular/internet subscribers without the cable access to SN / SN1 might be in violation of CRTC rules.

      • I’m not sure, but this doesn’t explain why it’s working for some people but not others.

        I still think the service being utter garbage is really the main reason.

  7. I have Rogers cable, downloaded the anyplace TV live app on my iphone but it’s blocking me because “You need to be using a Rogers wireless device in order to watch our live streaming content.” Fuck Ted.

  8. I’m curious and don’t know the answer.
    Can you purchase Rogers Anyplace TV as a stand alone product?Or can it only be accessed because of the cable account?

    • Yes and no.

      ATV/RoD is free to sign up (to access other content) , but to watch the games you now have to be a cable subscriber.

      I’d pay for a Jays only ATV package, but of course that’s not available.

  9. I have cable…seriously?

    Not everyone has the fucking time to be a nerd and stream everything thru their computer or device.

    Quit judging.


    • Has the time? How much time do you think it takes!?

    • I have cable also.
      But it’s the way of the world to view things on your phone.
      I can’t rent movies on DVD anymore and my 1972 Magnavox won’t accept an internet connection ( it coughs and gets fussy when I introduce it to a new cable).
      The world changes and people don’t like getting squeezed for cash when it’s supposed to be free.

      • Fuck, I don’t want to stream the games to my phone – my laptop would do just fine. I just don’t want to pay for the 11 billion other channels that I’ll never watch to get it.

    • It doesn’t take being a nerd to sign up for Netflix and MLB TV, and type your usernames and passwords into an Apple TV. For a lot of people, that’s more than enough and it doesn’t require nerd status.

      • MLB.TV and Netflix? So cable is only for baseball and a shitty selection of out of date movies and tv series?


        Nice to see I sparked a debate.


        • $8/month for Netflix vs. $50/month for rogers cable? Fuck that, I don’t watch enough TV for it to be worthwhile to spend five times as much.

    • It’s silly, like the perception that anyone who doesn’t use/follow twitter is somehow out of touch. It’s a very pervasive idea, ans has led to things like me being unable to so much as watch a newscast without learning what some jackass on twitter thinks about the news of the day.

      Sorry, off-topic, but I agree it’s silly to shit on people who don’t mind having cable.

  10. Yikes

  11. As far as i know, as long as you are a Rogers Cable subscriber, ROD for ALL jays games is free.

    I do not pay for SN1, but if a game is on SN1 i watch it on my tablet

  12. Step 1: cancel Rogers cable and internet (you have to give 30 days notice, generally)
    Step 2: acquire TekSavvy internet – 300gb for $40/month (call them when there are 15 or less days left on your last Rogers bill to initiate the transfer)
    Step 3: purchase mlb.tv account

    Note: I thought that I’d also have to have an unblock.us account to get around regional blackouts of the games in Canada, but I have been able to watch every single one without the use of a proxy (going on 2 months now).

    I was paying roughly $100/month for Rogers cable and internet.

    The modem from TekSavvy cost $100. $40/month for service = $480/year. With the mlb.tv account at ~$120/year (at the most, cheaper if you buy when there’s a promo happening ie. Father’s Day), you’re looking at a total cost of about $700/year. Plus, with that 300gb/month cap, you can Netflix and d/l your way through all of your television needs as well. Win/win.

    • Correct. I do the same with Bell internet and Unblock-us. It’s amazing. I’ve never looked back.

      • plus tek savvy doesn’t actually track your usage…. yet. im SURE I’ve gone over 300 gb in a month before, never paid a cent more than by $40 tho.

        • Not yet, they’re aware of the issue however.

        • I don’t know how accurate this is, but I believe this is how TekSavvy works re: overage charges:

          If you have a 300gb monthly allotment, and use 400gb for the first month, you are not charged. However, TS is notified of the total and if during the following month you go over, you’ll be charged. In addition, if you use 400gb in the first month and only 150 in the second… you’re fine, as that’s 550gb in total across the two months. TS can probably confirm how this works w/ a quick phone call or email.

  13. I have Rogers cable. A rip-off, to be sure, but really the only reason I have it is live sports. I just don’t find it the same on my little laptop. I really do wish those dicks would let me pick individual channels, though. Having to buy a ‘package’ full of uselessness when I only watch like 3 channels is balls.

    …but hey, let’s build the rat-bastard a statue, amirite?

    • Don’t people realize that those “little laptops” very easily plug in to their big TVs?
      I have no cable, yet I watch all my shows on a TV. It’s not hard to do. Just need a plug.

      • You’re right. And there are plenty of other devices one can stream through. I just find it loses quality when compared with an HD cable feed, and isn’t quite as reliable. No doubt it’ll be the clear choice in a couple years, but for me, it just isn’t there yet.

  14. This is a direct copy and paste of a text Rogers sent my cell 2 weeks before they cut off the service. I only have cell service with them

    Rogers msg: Let’s Go Blue Jays Let’s Go! Catch every Blue Jays game offered on Sportsnet on your computer, tablet or smartphone. Never miss a minute of the action. Learn more at http://RogersAnyplaceTV.com/sports. Go to rogers.com/stop 2opt out.

    Sure as shit makes it sound like i should have always had access.

    • Small print below on same webpage states:

      Eligibility: Must be a Rogers Digital VIP TV customer with a subscription to Sportsnet. Only available in Canada with an internet connection.

      *Desktop/Laptop: Available in Canada with an internet connection. Programming content differs depending on level of Rogers subscription. Charges apply for some On Demand content. For more information, visit RogersAnyplaceTV.com. Tablet: Rogers Anyplace TV Tablet app available to Rogers customers with a compatible device. See applicable app store for eligibility. Data charges may apply. Content availability dependent on customer’s cable subscription. Smartphone: Compatible device and Rogers wireless data plan required. Rogers Anyplace TV app downloadable from applicable app stores. A recurring $5/mo charge will apply if using the Rogers wireless network for 10 hours of content viewing during applicable month (no carryover) and overage of $1/hr applies thereafter (overage waived for limited time). Data usage may apply to some advertising appearing with on demand content viewed through the app.

      • I’m aware, I just found It somewhat misleading they would send me that before they shut off the service (i would be less inclined to say that had they mentioned the app and not the anyplace tv website although I’m sure it was just a generic text). I am somewhat annoyed that it took them so long to catch this error as I only renewed with them because of this although I probably should have seen this coming.

  15. Thanks, answered the questions I had. I’m one of those non cable subscribing Rogers customers who suddenly couldn’t stream the games.

  16. I just want online access to games at a decent quality.

    That simple.

    I’m happy to pay a subscription fee, just don’t try and sell me and many others cable, because we’re not interested.

    It’s like they’re using a playbook to rope in customers that is from the past.

    This totally reminds me of 10 years ago when Rogers was promoting Home Phone when it was clear that most everyone was going solely to a cell phone. They were bundling the shit out of that dinosaur product to get people to purchase something they don’t need/want.

    I believe that it was the former owner of Wind Mobile who said it best when complaining of the unlevelled playing field in telecommunications.

    He basically said if Rogers was such a good company why don’t they do business anywhere else in the world but Canada?

    His answer was that they are not a competitive business and that they rely on the lack of competition and and take advantage of federal over regulation.

    It’s the same bullshit style with this issue.

    Even JP Morosi knows that Canada/Toronto is one of the most inter-webbed places in the word, and yet Rogers goes in the opposite direction of real changes in consumer content consumption in order to bundle their dinosaur product and content models.

    A part of me hopes that things get really bad with the Jays so that Rogers sells the team to an individual who in addition to doing business, actually holds the best interest of the game.

    • “I just want online access to games at a decent quality.
      That simple.
      I’m happy to pay a subscription fee, just don’t try and sell me and many others cable, because we’re not interested.”

      Exactly how I feel.

      I don’t watch TV, I have zero desire for the other channels at all.

  17. Stoeten,

    In the spirit of the old DJF of how to sneak better seat and all the other ways to game the system type posts that you had back in the day, I beg of you to post a comprehensive watching the Jays online type guide.

    Not all of us want to cancel subscriptions, make changes, or buy mlb.tv unless we know exactly what to do.

    It would be a great service by you.

    • Google it, I even think I mentioned a few things to you in the other thread. For now most people have stated mlb tv isn’t blacking out, you can go month to month with it if your worried. If that fails use mediahint (only usable on a computer), if that fails subscribe to unblock us for 5 dollars a month (they have step by step, graphical instructions and it can work with pretty much any device). Aside from free, shit quality streaming those are your options. It’s pretty easy.

      • That’ll be my next move.

        I was worried when we spoke before that if mediahunt went offline I’d be stuck with a Jayless package., but the unblock accounts seem to be a decent back up.

        I’m gonna hold tight till September sale for mlb.tv and experiment with the different block services and mediahunt then services then.

        Thanks again for your help.

  18. Jason Grilli is going to be out for awhile, another team looking for bullpen help, Tallion or bust!!!!

  19. Yes it sucks, but now i don’t get as depressed and actually get things done around the house while listening to the radio. Old school. i love it.

  20. I live in BC and am a Rogers wireless customer, but there is no Rogers cable out here. When the Rogers web TV service started up I was excited because the adds on TV and the ones they emailed me said Rogers customers would be able to access jays games on their phones; but it never worked for me. I inquired 2 years ago and they said I didn’t have access because I wasn’t a Rogers TV subscriber. Maybe they screened BC people by IP address in the past

  21. youre gonna be sucking my dick tonight, Stoeten babe

  22. Mr. Perfect & Bam Bam Bigelow as

  23. Fantastic whip! I’d like to novice since you change your blog, how can i sign up for your web site? This bill made it simpler for us a appropriate option. I have been previously little familiar of this ones sent out made available shiny obvious thought

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