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How to Watch MLB Games 2020

Major League Baseball is back, and here's how to watch all the hardball action.

Best cable TV for MLB
  • $49.99–$84.99/mo.
  • 6/6 MLB channels
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Best satellite TV for MLB
  • $59.99–$114.99/mo.
  • 6/6 MLB channels
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Best streaming TV for MLB
  • $64.99/mo.
  • 6/6 MLB channels
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Best streaming app for MLB
  • $93.99–$121.99/season
  • Every out-of-market game live
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Opening pitch: How to watch MLB

To paraphrase Hank Williams Jr., Are you ready for some baseball?!

Major League Baseball season is finally here, so it’s time to get a TV game plan. Let us walk you through your MLB cable, satellite, and livestreaming TV options.

Here are CableTV.com’s top picks for watching MLB games, based on price and availability.

Best ways to watch MLB

The channels you’ll need to watch nationally broadcast MLB games

Many of the season’s baseball games are carried by RSNs (regional sports networks, or area-specific cable channels like AT&T SportsNet and YES). But there’s plenty of nationally available MLB action, too, and the channels are as easy to catch as a grounder to third.

Cable staples ESPN, TBS, and FS1, and FOX carry most national MLB games—it’s tough to find a TV provider that doesn’t have at least three of these in a channel lineup.

If you’re a serious baseball fan who’s willing to spend a little more, add-ons like MLB Extra Innings (cable or satellite) and MLB.TV (streaming) are aces.

The truly hardcore can catch preseason spring training games on MLB Network (cable, satellite, or streaming) and ESPN+ (streaming). MLB even livestreams some games over YouTube and Facebook—you can’t get away from baseball, because America.

Best cable providers for MLB

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ProviderPriceMLB channels
🏆Our pick

Xfinity
$49.99–$84.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS
Cox$25.00–$69.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS
Optimum$64.99–$119.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS
RCN$59.99–$64.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS
Spectrum$44.99–$89.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Best satellite providers for MLB

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ProviderPriceMLB channels
🏆Our pick

DIRECTV
$59.99–$114.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS
DISH$59.99–$94.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

When it comes to national and regional sports networks, cable and satellite have baseball (and most other sports) covered. There’s a reason sports bars spend as much on TV packages as they do on pretzels.

The MLB Extra Innings add-on package ($120–$183 a year) is another great advantage to signing up with one of the cable or satellite providers above. Extra Innings gives you in-market games (excluding some blackout games on RSNs) and includes MLB.TV, which is great for out-of-market games (more on that later).

Here are CableTV.com’s MLB cable picks:

Here are CableTV.com’s MLB satellite picks:

Watch live MLB games from the comfort of your couch

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Best livestreaming TV providers for MLB

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ProviderPriceMLB channels
🏆Our pick
YouTube TV
$64.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, MLB Network, RSNs, TBS
Hulu + Live TV$54.99–$60.99/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, RSNs, TBS
fuboTV$54.99–$74.99/mo.FOX, FS1, RSNs, TBS
Sling TV30.00–$45.00/mo.FS1, RSNs, TBS
AT&T TV NOW$65.00–$135.00/mo.ESPN, FOX, FS1, RSNs, TBS

Data effective as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Sports channel availability gets a little trickier with internet-based livestreaming TV; only YouTube TV, Hulu + Live TV, and AT&T TV NOW carry all of the networks running regular-season MLB games in their basic plans. For sheer quantity, those are your best baseball streaming bets.

(You can get near-complete MLB coverage with Sling TV, but it would require add-on sports packages, driving up the monthly subscription costs.)

If you’re mostly just interested in watching certain teams in your area, pay attention to regional sports networks in the channel lineups. Only Hulu + Live TV and AT&T TV NOW stream Marquee (Chicago Cubs), and only fuboTV and YouTube TV have NESN (Boston Red Sox).

What is a blackout game?

If a sports event is “blacked out” on your cable, satellite, or livestreaming service channels, it means a local broadcast station or RSN negotiated with the league for exclusive TV rights. TV blackouts can also occur when an area game doesn’t sell out. In either case, it’s a business-to-business decision, not a Federal Communications Commission rule.

The standalone streaming app MLB.TV is also worth checking out: For $121.99 a season, you can stream every out-of-market game live and watch blackout local games on-demand 90 minutes after they’ve ended. MLB.TV also makes live audio available for local blackout games.

If you’re a one-club fan, MLB.TV’s optional Single Team plan might be for you: for $93.99 a season, you can livestream all of just that team’s out-of-market games, and see local blackout games on-demand 90 minutes after they’ve ended (live local audio also applies to MLB.TV Single Team).

Here are CableTV.com’s MLB livestreaming picks:

Watch MLB for free: get an over-the-air antenna

If you’re a ball fan on a budget and paying for cable, satellite, or livestreaming TV isn’t in your game plan, you can watch MLB action on your local FOX station with an OTA (over-the-air) antenna. It may be a little old-fashioned, but so’s baseball, right?

For a one-time hardware purchase, you can get broadcast HD sports this and every season (as well as non-sports TV stuff, if you’re into that). FOX doesn’t broadcast all of the games, but you can spend at least a few Saturdays watching the MLB diamond for free.

Here are CableTV.com’s OTA antenna picks:

Bottom of the ninth: our final swing

We’ve made it this far without a single “home run” reference, but we think we’ve come up with some TV deals for baseball fans here that . . . knock it out of the park. Well, we tried.

If you’re looking for full MLB coverage, cable and satellite TV are still the best ways to get as much baseball screen time as possible. Livestreaming is a close second; it’s less expensive, but only some of the services carry all of the sports networks and RSNs to fully cover your bases.

Here are our cable picks for MLB:

Here are our satellite picks for MLB:

Here are our livestreaming picks for MLB:

Or, for the price of a round of beers and hot dogs, you can buy an antenna and be set for (some of) the season for free. In the words of fictional baseball announcer Jim Brockmire, “Lucy, put supper on the stove ‘cause this ballgame is over!”

Get ready for the return of America’s pastime

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How to Watch MLB Games FAQ

Can I watch blackout MLB games in my area?

The simplest way around a blackout is to buy an over-the-air antenna and watch on your local network broadcast station (in the case of MLB games, that would be a FOX affiliate). It requires a little extra setup—if you don’t already have an OTA antenna—but it’s quick and free.

Another more complicated blackout workaround is to use an internet VPN (virtual private network) that masks your ISP and makes it look like you’re watching from a different area. This method is limited to livestreaming and online viewing, however.

Can I watch MLB games for free?

The majority of the MLB season happens on pay-cable channels, but you can watch some weekend and playoff games for free on FOX broadcast stations. You’d be out the cost of a digital antenna to do it, but that’s just a one-time charge compared to a monthly subscription.

MLB also streams select in-season games live on its YouTube and Facebook pages, where they usually remain archived for later viewing. It’s a cool deal if you somehow missed a game.

Can I watch MLB games on Amazon Prime Video?

You can livestream MLB games on Amazon Prime Video through MLB.TV in Prime Video Channels. As with other Prime Video Channels, like HBO® and Shudder, it requires a separate paid subscription in addition to an Amazon Prime membership.

An MLB.TV subscription costs the same through Prime Video Channels as it does with the standalone app; this route is more for convenience (if you’re a regular Prime Video user) than savings.

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