Major League Baseball is breaking the mold for sports leagues in many ways. They were the first to launch their streaming service on all major devices, they were the first to offer a full MLB package at an affordable rate and now they are the first to offer their 24/7 sports news channel, via MLB.tv. There is one caveat though, and it's that you must be a cable or satellite subscriber in order to view it.
Via the At Bat app, customers can subscribe to MLB.tv and watch almost every nightly baseball game, with some blackout restrictions here and there. Along with the dozens of games per night, the MLB is now offering its MLB Network channel inside the same At Bat app. While that seems like the league is taking a huge leap into the 21st century, even with it being the only sports league in America to offer up its news network, the requirement for an active cable subscription really puts a damper on cord cutters seeking out this option.
For sports fans, one of the few reasons they still have a cable subscription is for sports. You just can't get most of the live sports and sports news on streaming services. Sling TV might have a handful of channels, but there's virtually no actual games on the network. Each league might offer up the live games, but none of them showcase their respective 24/7 news channels except for the MLB. This puts sports fans wanting to cut the cord in a weird position, and it looks like there won't be a solution for this predicament any time soon.
While the MLB is entitled to do what they wish with their content, it feels like this wasn't very well thought-out. The fans who want MLB Network most likely already have it with their cable package if they're truly a fan of baseball. Those who simply pay for MLB.tv aren't paying for cable because it's a standalone package. If HBO Now was able to negotiate deals to provide a standalone service, it would only be appropriate for the MLB to follow suit, especially when they are touting this as such a monumental launch.
The good news is that companies like HBO and the MLB are pushing forward and perhaps we'll see a small change to the deal in the near future. Fans have already taken to the Internet and have even called into Major League Baseball's headquarters asking for the MLB Network to be available without a subscription to a pay TV service. It's likely that the MLB will make it happen sooner rather than later.