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MLB reaches deals...with streaming providers Apple, NBC

At least there’s some ink drying on new contracts!

MLB Owners Meetings Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

There was a time when you knew to flip it to channel 60 to catch the Cincinnati Reds game on FS-Ohio. You could then flip it over to channel 56 for a live FOX national broadcast of a New York Yankees vs. Boston Red Sox game every single Saturday afternoon, and then motor over to channel 24 to watch ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast.

All that power in one thumb, one cable television remote.

As cord-cutting continues to alter the way in which we consume baseball from the confines of our homes - when it exists, that is - both the consumer and the providers are having to alter the ways in which they dole out their game telecasts. The rise of MLB.tv as a primary streaming service began things, and a pair of deals struck by baseball over the course of the last 24 hours is going to continue that change.

Late on Monday, MLB officially partnered with both Apple and NBC’s Peacock to provide streaming of national baseball broadcasts, deals that will guarantee another $115 million to MLB’s coffers. Apple will gain broadcast rights to a pair of Friday Night Baseball games, while Peacock will pick up the slack left by the previous ESPN contract to television Monday and Wednesday Night Baseball games around the planet.

For now, it appears that each of these selected games will stream wholly on these providers, meaning they will no longer be available as options through MLB.tv, which sucks. In other words, from the fan/consumer perspective, these are now two additional monthly streaming fees you’ll be adding to your ledger should you choose to want to watch each and every available national broadcast.

I have also not seen a concurrent price reduction in MLB.tv, so there’s that.

So, you now get to not only toggle between Hulu Live, Sling Orange/Blue, and YouTubeTV as they continue their price wars and decide whether or not Paramount+ is worth adding for March Madness, you now get another pair in there, too.

(On a related note, why is it that as the ability to watch things gets more and more ‘smart’, the remotes in charge of toggling between these streams get dumber and dumber? It takes 30 seconds to change the ‘channel’ with one of these things!)

I digress.