With MLB.TV, fans get more for less

With MLB.TV, fans get more for less

Reflecting today's economy and Major League Baseball's industry-wide effort to add value and increase fan enjoyment, 2009 MLB.TV subscription packages were launched on Tuesday with advanced technology and for a lower price.

Come and get it, baseball fans.

MLB.TV Premium is now available for $109.95 per year or $19.95 per month. The yearly price is $10 less than the 2008 cost. The MLB.TV standard product is also now available at $79.95 per year and $14.95 per month. That also reflects a $10 annual price drop, in a spirit similar to that of many teams' ballpark ticket prices this season.

"As determined and mindful as we are about affordability, consistent with baseball's sensitivity overall, we are equally passionate about innovation," said Dinn Mann, MLB.com's EVP of Content. "The trust fans put in us to present every game live merits ongoing product development that makes our services, both free and pay, reliable and ahead of the pack."

Millions of fans have watched live games over their computers, and most renewing or new subscribers will go with MLB.TV Premium based on user trends, pricing and the sheer power of the Premium product. Want to see something really cool? MLB.TV Premium is introducing Live Game Radio Option, which means you will be able to select your team's TV or radio announcers at any time.

You already have the Home & Away Team Feed functionality, which was added at the tail end of the 2008 regular season in arguably the most revolutionary upgrade to MLB.TV yet. So not only do you get to decide whether your own broadcasters or the opponents' crew calls your game, but now you also will be able to toggle freely between your TV or radio booth. Vin Scully went from TV to radio for a few innings? No problem -- just follow him from booth to booth. Same with any announcers.

If "pitchers and catchers report" is our all-time favorite command around this time each year, then "MLB.TV is now on sale" is at least moving closer each year to No. 2. The annual launch has become something of a happening, a bellwether of real, honest-to-goodness baseball to come very soon. Once you subscribe, you establish an immediate foothold as a high-tech fan, and you gain immediate access to on-demand archives so you can relive any of the last World Series or maybe a Carlos Zambrano no-hitter while you wait for the Cactus and Grapefruit League games to appear on your menu.

It gets better every year, and the more robust Media Player already is generating a lot of buzz among hardcore fans here at the Major League Baseball Advanced Media offices. Here are things to know in each of the MLB.TV subscription packages:

MLB.TV Premium

HD-Quality Picture (where available). The proprietary speed detection allows high-speed customers to enjoy an HD-quality picture on any size monitor. Available on your Mac or PC.

Live Game DVR Functionality. Watch the game on your own time -- pause, rewind, fast-forward live games. Never miss a moment of the action.

Multi-Game Viewing Options. Watch up to four games or highlights simultaneously in the Mosaic View.

Live Game Picture in Picture. Choose your game and track another or watch in-game highlights simultaneously in a secondary window. This is a must for fantasy owners.

Enhanced Video Player. Now you can use Adobe Flash Player to watch baseball on your Mac or PC. If you use Adobe Flash Player 9.0 or later, no download is required. See System Requirements for more information.

Live Game Radio Option. Select either radio or TV announcers of each game.

Live Game Chat. Comment on the action with either friends or rivals as games are played.

Player Tracker. Customize alerts to feature entire fantasy rosters or players based on your interest. You will be notified any time a listed player is on deck. Simply click the real-time alert and watch live at-bat look-ins.

Home and Away Team Feeds (where available). Watch or listen to either the home or away team's broadcasts. Simply select your favorite announcers or check in to see how the other team's commentators call the game.

All of the standard features are below.


TV Quality Picture. Watch live games with TV quality picture (800K streaming) on your Mac or PC.

Live Game Highlights. Real-time highlights and player stats automatically load into the Media Player. Simply click on the highlight you would like to watch and the clip instantly launches in a Picture in Picture window.

Condensed Games. These are staples at MLB.com, and to understand how much they mean to many fans, just consider the outcry when we considered shelving them a while back. Condensed Games are posted the day after the game and are shown without blackout restrictions. Archived games are posted about 45 minutes after the game has ended and are shown without blackout restrictions.

PC/Mac Compatible. Watch every regular season game outside of your home territory live on either a Mac or PC.

Includes MLB.com Gameday Audio. Fan of old-time radio baseball broadcasting? Just want to have the game playing in the background while you work at home or at the office? Listen to every 2009 regular-season and postseason game live (with no blackout restrictions).

Spring Training. Watch more than 100 select Spring Training games live (no blackouts).

Regular Season. Watch every out-of-market regular-season game live or on-demand.

Just imagine what life can be like in 2009 as an MLB.TV subscriber. You can sit there at your computer all day and night on Monday, April 6, and see every inning of every live Opening Day game if you so desire. Toward the end of the season, MLB.TV Premium becomes a scoreboard-watcher's best friend, with the ability to view simultaneous live games that affect your favorite team's hopes of reaching the postseason.

Along the way, you will see something amazing. What will it be in 2009? That is the best reason of all to subscribe. In 1941, Joe DiMaggio hit in a record 56 consecutive games and Ted Williams batted .406. In 1961, Roger Maris broke Babe Ruth's record with his 61st homer. In 1974, Hank Aaron crushed No. 715. In 1995, Cal Ripken Jr. played in an unthinkable 2,131st consecutive game. Five seasons ago, MLB.TV subscribers had a unique inside view as Ichiro Suzuki broke George Sisler's 1920 record with his 258th hit in a season. You never know what will happen. It will be on MLB.TV.

There is no point dwelling on the latest economic news, but there is a good reason for lowering the price of an MLB.TV Premium subscription for the first time since Major League Baseball broke new ground as the trailblazing sports league for live-game streaming. Everyone can use more value now, getting more for less. That's what you will find with a 2009 subscription, and at last the moment has arrived.

Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.