Big Changes to MLB Game Streaming in 2016 and Other Bullets

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Big Changes to MLB Game Streaming in 2016 and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

mlb tv featureThe Little Girl had a book for me when I picked her up from school yesterday, and it was freaking awesome. For a kid who hasn’t actually seen any of the ‘Star Wars’ movies, she is super into ‘Star Wars.’ And it makes her nerdy dad both happy and proud.

  • The official settlement to the MLB blackout lawsuit (discussed here, here, and here) is now available here in full. One big thing I’d now add to those previous three posts: MLB will now have to make available, without blackouts, to “unserved fans” – i.e., fans who live in a blackout region but who *genuinely cannot* purchase “local” games on their cable/satellite system. In other words, if you live in the Cubs’ large blackout region, but the cable/satellite operators in your area will not carry CSN Chicago, you can now get those games on (you have to go through an application process to tell MLB that you can’t otherwise get the games). If you can get CSN Chicago, though, you’re gonna still be blacked out, because the full blackout regions appear to be unchanged by this settlement. The full details are in the settlement document, but I’m expecting will have an official, more-user-friendly description as the season approaches.
  • I suspect this has the potential to become very complicated for MLB with respect to the Cubs, in particular, because not all of their games are on CSN. Instead, almost half are split between local WGN and local ABC, and, as you no doubt recall, many of those games were flat out not available in cities outside of Chicago (but within the blackout region). Some of the games were picked up in syndication deals by local stations in those cities, but many were not. It’s incredibly complicated, and unlike any other team’s TV situation. Long story short: you folks in the blackout region should now be able to get games on that you couldn’t previously get, but only after showing MLB that you don’t otherwise have any access to those games. And that part’s going to be further complicated by the fact that the local syndication deals might not come out until just before the season starts.
  • Important note for existing subscribers: because the price of has been cut in this settlement, and because there will now be an even cheaper single-team option for 2016, you may want to check your current subscription to make sure it doesn’t automatically renew at a higher price or for a package you don’t want. Then, of course, when the season approaches, you can sign back up for whatever different package you want (using the links at BN to support the site in the process! win win!). You should be able to check your subscription status here (manage Audio/Visual Subscriptions in your MLB account).
  • Some of you may have seen that there’s a newly-filed federal lawsuit in Florida involving Phillies pitcher Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez and the process by which he came to the United States from Cuba (El Nuevo Herald). Although not directly implicated in the suit, Jorge Soler and Armando Rivero are mentioned in the allegations as part of the broader story. I’ve reached out to the Cubs for comment on the suit, so I don’t want to get too deeply into the issues that it presents until I hear back. But, since I know many of you would ask why I wasn’t mentioning it, I wanted to at least drop in a Bullet here for now.

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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.