Live-game blackout lifted in Japan

Live-game blackout lifted in Japan

MLB.TV will be the window to the 80th All-Star Game all over the world, and that window was opened for Japan today with the lifting of all blackout restrictions for the live online broadcast.

The blackout, which has been in effect since the launch of MLB.TV game programming in 2003, has been lifted for all available games, not just for tonight's extravaganza from St. Louis.

However, the Midsummer Classic, starting at 8 p.m. ET in Busch Stadium, will be a spectacular introduction to the service for Japanese fans on the Internet.

They will be able to watch live as favorite native son Ichiro Suzuki trots to the outfield for his eighth All-Star Game start of his nine Major League seasons.

International fans will be able to watch the All-Star Game as a regular part of the MLB.TV pay package.

Starting with tonight's All-Star Game, the remainder of games for the rest of the season will be available in Japan, as will all postseason games, including the 2009 World Series.

MLB Advanced Media's negotiations around the end to the blackout have been ongoing, with an agreement finally being struck on Monday night.

Japan thus joins the rest of the global community in being able to join streamed games with such high-tech features as picture-in-picture and DVR capability.

Beginning in 2010, MLBAM plans to offer all games in Japan with High Definition quality picture over the Internet.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.