MLB is upset that a new service, Sling Media, is offering a product (the Slingbox) that will allow you to watch your TV’s signal from anywhere in the world through a PC or a web-enabled phone.
Apparently, they don’t like the fact that folks are catching “free” games on their phones and laptops in local markets were they otherwise would’ve been forced to watch the game on the local TV station, or through the MLB.TV subscription service.
That’s so not how it used to be.
During the 2000 season, I was able to listen to all of the ChiSox’ games through espnradio1000.com’s live web-streaming.
Back then we didn’t have the goodness of MLB Extra Innings or MLB.TV, so I had to use my instincts as a young web wiz (not) to listen to the games through Chicago’s ESPN affiliate.
Well; Bud Selig must’ve been very attuned to the fact that I, and presumably, many others, were consuming a Major League game without technically someone paying for it.
In 2001, the free web-streaming was gone; now I was forced to pay for a radio subscription ($79.99) if I wanted to catch every game live.
Fast forward a few years – eons in Web/technology time – and now I watch most of the Sox games on my desktop.
Baseball also introduced MLB Mosaic this year, which is a (beta) program for Windows that allows you to watch six games all at once.
To be quite honest, I think MLB is using technology to squeeze every penny out of our pockets.
MLB Extra innings for your cable/satellite is $150. MLB.TV can be as much as $100 (not to mention the radio package – $14.95 for the rest of the season).
They also offer the ability to download individual games for $3.95 each.
But Selig and his henchmen have not been able to catch up with the 12-to-6 curve; the technology curve that is.
This year, MLB.TV is only using Windows Media Player; as opposed to offering both WMA and Real Player streams like last year.
It just so happens that Windows dropped support for their media player in Macs and as a result, I’ve had to use a pluggin for Quicktime, Apple’s own media player.
Since I have Quicktime Pro, I am able to save the game file if I’ve watched it on its entirety.
Much like the Slingbox issue, this is something that MLB cannot prevent unless they force a legitimate service or product to stop working simply because MLB Advanced Media executive VP George Kliavkoff wants to tap new sources of revenue.
The services that MLB Media are, in my opinion, great; but if they don’t reconsider their excessive rates, fans will just tune out and resort to the good ol’ box score.