I’ve written a lot about “streaming exclusive” games, which are a new class of MLB game that can only be viewed on streaming platforms, and how unpopular the resulting blackouts are with long time fans. Here is a complete guide to MLB’s streaming exclusive games for the 2023 season.
Table of Contents
- For 2023, there are 3 streaming exclusive games. Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+, Sunday Morning Baseball on Peacock, and the MLB Game of the Week on YouTube.
- Yankee broadcasts on Amazon Prime aren’t true “streaming exclusive” games since they can still be watched out-of-market on MLB.TV.
- These games are called “streaming exclusives” because the only way to watch is on the streaming platform that has purchased the rights to the games.
- Many MLB fans, especially older fans, are quite unhappy with the gaps in coverage caused by the new streaming exclusive MLB games, which result in blackouts of local regional sports networks, on both cable and streaming services.
Yankee Friday night streaming exclusives on Amazon
Amazon is a part owner of the YES Network and has taken advantage by pushing several Friday Night games on to Amazon Prime which cause blackouts of the YES Network in-market.
Yankee loyalists in particular have been upset about Amazon Prime streaming games on Friday nights that would normally appear on the YES Network. We have received almost 100 comments from Yankee fans about these games, with many vowing to root for the Mets for the first time in their lives out of protest.
The Amazon Yankee games still can be watched on MLB.lTV out-of-market.
However, the Amazon Prime Yankee broadcasts aren’t the only streaming exclusive MLB game fans have to contend with.
Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball
Apple’s Friday Night Baseball doubleheader is a streaming exclusive broadcast that blacks out local RSNs, as well as MLB.TV.
Peacock Sunday Morning Baseball
Peacock has Sunday Morning Baseball, another doubleheader on Sunday Mornings that can only be watched on the Peacock app.
YouTube MLB Game of the Week
YouTube reserved a slate of MLB games, which can be live streamed on both YouTube and YouTube TV.
How streaming exclusive MLB games impact older fans
The Giants have been featured on Apple’s Friday Night Baseball series, which resulted in blackouts on NBC Sports Bay Area in NorCal.
We received this comment from a reader on behalf of her Dad, a long time Giants fan who was quite upset that he couldn’t watch his team. I felt the comment, which I have included in its entirety below, should be published in full on this page because it is representative of fan frustration over streaming exclusive baseball games.
San Francisco CA:
My 78 year old father is a HUGE sports fan – but MLB is his number one favorite by far. He’s watched every SF Giants game – many live – and he has watched almost every MLB team game religiously for more than 40 years.
Facing his 80’s – with failing health, thats been very limiting, his biggest highlight in life are the MLB games.
So much so, that everything else in his life works around the scheduled games, everything timed, he’d never consider going anywhere in the hours prior – in case an accident/traffic were to make him late. He’s got a very definitive pattern:
The pregame, with his dinner, then the game, his dessert, and his tea with the commentary wrap up afterwards. Then he talks about all the various details and players game until the next game.
He sat down tonight waiting for his game to begin…and called for me in a panic….upset and confused as to why the channel said “ERROR”….I began the usual (nearly weekly) Xfinity troubleshooting …and it was when I looked up to see if the Channel had issues…
that I found out:
– “The Trifecta Deal from Hell” –
As I explained…my Dads face just became more upset and sad…and confused:
Long time Giants fan after learning his friday night game was unexpectedly blacked out
Does that mean I can’t watch it?
I felt like I was about to break his heart.
We have older tv’s and his problematic Android phone – an outdated iPad mini and an
11 year old HP laptop. YouTube videos barely watchable- between the constant buffering and “website crashed reloading..” messages ….and Xfinitys worthless progressively slower internet, that drops off every 15 minutes….
there’s zero way we could download Apple TV, then stream a baseball game.
Then there’s the fact that my parents are on the tightest “to the last penny” budget, with just a meager social security income – after losing their savings due to Covid related issues. So when I say they scrape by ….some months they run out of cash 3-6 days early – and depend on Community Food Banks to get through.
I am always negotiating the utility bills, even though they’re on the highest discount available, because they literally cannot afford to pay more than what’s budgeted.
I don’t understand HOW so many previously and historically FREE shows and Channels are now “updated” so you’re required to pay? Or pay more? At a time when so many have lost so much.
This MLB deal was the epitome of sheer greed, not caring one bit about the “true long time fans” knowing even if they excluded everyone but the wealthy, they’d just adjust by raising prices and not think twice.
But what was immediately apparent? The deal WAS NOT simply to attract younger MLB fans – due to concerns over an aging fan base- that’s SUCH utter BS!
If that were true, they could have STILL negotiated to CONTINUE the NBC game on tv and – ADDED- a streaming service – creating an ADDITION- like so many other Companies and Channels have done.
It didn’t have to be an either/or.
But it wouldn’t have netted them the $111 Million they received.
ITS so blatantly obvious is all based on 100% PURE GREED.
If Bloomberg/MLB needs money that desperately- just by slightly lowering the sign on bonuses and contracts – they’d yield MILLIONS.
I am SO sick of hearing about the increasing greed from all over the U.S.
Wherever there’s an issue or conflict of any kind……you can bet it’ll be traced back to
some financial deal or greed.
It’s making me ashamed to be an American.
And SHAME ON YOU MLB for breaking my Dads heart. 💔
What can be done to make MLB streaming exclusives more accessible?
There can be no doubt that fans hate MLB streaming exclusive games.
I am not sure how to deal with problems like this. It is inevitable that viewers go through growing pains as the TV landscape evolves away from cable. However, it does feel wrong to leave the most loyal sports fans out in the cold.
Perhaps rather than getting an “Error” screen because of the blackout, this man’s TV should have displayed clear instructions for how to watch the game on Apple TV?
You might take it a step further and preclude regional sports network blackouts on games, like Apple’s, that air in a new time slot, and on a new platform, for the first two years of their existence.
This gives fans time to adjust and catch up.
The details can, and should, be sorted out, but this much is clear – the media giants who are divvying up the rights to these games can do better.