Not unlike many people in my demographic, I made the decision to live a life without cable TV nearly one year ago. It wasn’t what I’d call a tough decision but, given a number of factors, it made sense for me and my family.
In addition to saving some money every month, I find myself (and, more importantly, my two young children) watching a lot less…nothing on TV. There is no lack of screen time in my house but the time we spend watching TV is spend watching stuff by choice, not just because the TV happens to be on.
Other than a few inconveniences, the switch to cable-less life was very seamless. Sure, I’m behind on The Walking Dead and Mad Men, but is that such a big deal? I can easily watch baseball and any other sport I care about online for nominal fees. As baseball fans, we are spoiled by the quality of the MLB.tv product – it is nothing short of a miracle.
Yet, on Saturday morning when I fired up MLB.com looking for some hot opening round action from the World Baseball Classic, the above message greeted me. As a Canadian baseball fan who does not subscribe to cable, even as a MLB.tv premium subscriber, I was unable to watch any of the WBC games live. Which is, to say the least, problematic.
The fact of the matter is simple: MLB pushed all early WBC coverage to MLB Network, a move designed to prompt any cable providers not currently carrying MLBN to pick up the all-baseball network by way of customer outrage. Pretty much the first and oldest trick in the “content provider v. cable provider” book.
In Canada, the rights to the MLB Network are held by Rogers Communications, the telecom giant lovingly coddled by the federal government alongside its main competitor/cozy business buddy, Bell Media. Rogers owns the rights for MLB Network but they do not yet provide the channel to Canadian customers in our home on native land.
All WBC games are available on one of the many Sportsnet outlets but not available for viewing online. Even as a Rogers internet customer, no luck. Which is odd as Rogers, owners of the Blue Jays, makes Jays game available for streaming to Rogers internet customers, knocking out the MLB.tv blackouts and promoting their own product in that gloriously synergistic way.
The idea of illegal streams troubles me as I live in fear of viruses swarming my computer as well as the uneasy feeling stealing content gives me. So, for now, I’m out of luck. Once the non-middle-of-the-night games begin, I will be more than out of luck viz my job.
For a company that does online so incredibly well (and incredibly lucratively), I am surprised to see MLBAM drop the ball like this. While there are greater forces at play, it is mildly shocking that, even if I wanted to pay for the privilege of watching Chris Leroux pitch to Alex Liddi, I cannot. And it sucks. The WBC didn’t need to take any more PR hits and yet here we are. A shame, as the games seem like they’ve been a lot of fun.
Note: We’ll have a full recap up in the next hour.
And the rest
World Baseball Classic fever spreads throughout Japan! Even those who are able to watch the WBC choose otherwise.
— Ben Badler (@BenBadler) March 4, 2013
How the Rays manage their bullpen – it’s more than just Rodney. [Process Report]
The Nationals emphasize vision training. More like the extra 20/20 percent, amirite? [Washington Post]
These autograph hounds, I tell ya.
— Steph Rogers (@StephR2D2) March 3, 2013
What causes the baseball-wide increase in strikeouts? [Fangraphs]