In a long-awaited win-win for fans everywhere, Major League Baseball Advanced Media announced on Wednesday that MLB.TV Premium subscribers now have the choice of the home or away broadcast feed in every live game.
With more than a million fans having already experienced live baseball over their computers, the impact of this announcement is going to be celebrated loudly. It is no small development. In fact, in the past six years of the technology pioneered by MLB.com, the choice of feeds has been the most consistent request.
"That is very exciting," said Kyle Sweeney, a Brewers fan and MLB.TV subscriber living in Chicago. "I have always enjoyed my MLB.TV experience, but the one hangup was always listening to the rivals' announcing crew. Their knowledge on my Brewers was often minimal at best and often were cheering for the team I was cheering against.
"This will make the rest of my viewing experience a pleasure from a fan perspective. This will bring a new element to every game, where I feel the announcers are actually cheering with me. I have only been subscribing this year, but certainly will renew now."
Those comments hit home with Brewers TV play-by-play man Brian Anderson. When informed of the breakthrough and Sweeney's reaction, Anderson shared sentiments that will be echoed by broadcasters around the Majors.
"I think MLB.TV continues to hit a home run in advanced media," Anderson said. "As broadcasters, we are always thinking about who is watching and where they are watching. To know we have fans, especially our military personnel, who are able to follow our games from far-away places means a great deal to our entire crew.
"Our goal is to help make the connection between the action and the viewer, no matter how far away the viewer might be. Home is home ... and now fans will have a chance to see and hear the sounds of their hometown team every day whenever they want. To be able to watch your team on your schedule is a tremendous technical achievement."
This was the second major announcement for MLB.TV in the past week. Many fans already have seized the opportunity to pay-per-day for MLB.TV Premium, at a cost of just $7.95 on any day through the end of the regular season. For the remainder of the season, fans can subscribe to MLB.TV for $14.95 or to MLB.TV Premium for $19.95.
If you're a White Sox fan living out-of-market and watching your team, you'll like it when Ken "Hawk" Harrelson reacts to a Sox homer with "You can put in on the board ... Yes!" If you're a Twins fan watching your team play those White Sox in a battle for the American League Central title, you don't want to hear that. The same is true in every situation around the game. Now you have the choice.
When you log in to MLB.Premium, you will be asked to click on the home or away feed. It will be easy to toggle back and forth between one broadcast feed and another, or from one live game to another being played at the same time.
MLB.com Gameday Audio has provided this option for years, and fans still can listen to either team's radio broadcast feed by utilizing that service. It comes with the subscription if you sign up for MLB.TV or MLB.TV Premium, and now you get the best of both worlds because you can hear home or away as video or just audio.
The same blackout restrictions for MLB.TV still apply. If your IP address is located within a defined radius that allows you to see games in your market over cable television, then you cannot access live MLB.TV games. However, any MLB.TV subscriber can access every game from this entire season on-demand, with the ability to use Clickable Linescores, and again, it includes the MLB.com Gameday Audio package. For further questions about MLB.TV, please read the FAQ or contact Customer Service at 866-800-1275 (512-434-1542 for international customers) or by email.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.