How to watch the MLB
Baseball is America’s Pastime, and America has never had more ways to watch than today. There are cable and satellite providers, streaming services, broadcast channels, on-demand—it’s a baseball fan’s dream come true.
However, all this variety can also be confusing. That’s why we’re here—we’ll walk through all the different ways to watch MLB and offer recommendations on the best ways to get all the games you need.
The best ways to watch MLB
- DIRECTV: DIRECTV is our favorite traditional TV service for MLB fans (and for sports fans in general). It’s got tons of sports channels and a great DVR, so you can record any games you can’t be home to see. Highly recommended.
- Sling TV: Our pick for the best MLB streaming service is Sling TV. Not only is it one of the most affordable live TV streaming services, but it also has (almost) everything you need to get all the MLB games. The only thing you’ll miss is local in-market games, but you can add a cheap HD antenna to pick up some of those.
- MLB EXTRA INNINGS: This is your ticket to out-of-market MLB games. You can add MLB EXTRA INNINGS to either of the above services to get a more complete experience.
If you want to watch every MLB game
For baseball fans who want to catch every single MLB game, these are the channels and services you’ll need:
- FOX (some nationally televised games)
- FS1 (some nationally televised games)
- TBS (some nationally televised games)
- ESPN (some nationally televised games)
- MLB Network (some nationally televised games)
- Access to regional sports networks (RSNs) (local in-market games)
- MLB.TV or MLB EXTRA INNINGS (out-of-market games)
What are in-market and out-of-market games?
In-market games are those that either feature your local team or directly impact them in some way, like games that will impact who plays your team in the playoffs.
Out-of-market games are all other games, aside from a handful nationally broadcast ones.
Depending on your location, some games will be "blacked out," meaning you can't watch them on certain networks. If it's an in-market game, it might be blacked out on MLB.TV for you. If it's an out-of-market game, it might be blacked out on your regional sports channels.
How to watch in-market MLB games
In-market MLB games include nationally broadcast games and local broadcasts of your home team. National games are aired on several channels: ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, and the MLB Network. These channels are included with most cable and satellite TV providers as well as many live streaming services like YouTube TV, Sling TV, Hulu + Live TV, and DIRECTV STREAM. You can also pick up many of these channels over-the-air free with an HD antenna.
Local games are aired on RSNs, which are regional channels that carry a variety of local sports content. They are available with cable and satellite subscriptions, and you can pick many up with an antenna. Streaming local in-market games is tougher—only DIRECTV STREAM carries a significant number of them, and it is one of the most expensive streaming services.
How to watch out-of-market MLB games
Out-of-market MLB games include all games for either non-local teams or games that aren’t nationally broadcast. This makes up the vast majority of games in any given season, and the only way to get them is with a dedicated service.
The service for out-of-market MLB games is MLB.TV, and you actually have a few options for subscribing to it. You can get MLB.TV for a single team for $120 per season or for all teams for $140 per season.
If you have a cable or satellite plan, you can also subscribe to MLB EXTRA INNINGS, which includes MLB.TV and gives you access to all out-of-market games, plus some additional features, for around $180 per year.
How to stream MLB games
Whether you’re ditching your cable subscription entirely, or just looking to supplement, there are a number of ways to stream MLB games:
- DIRECTV STREAM: This is basically a streaming version of the standard DIRECTV satellite service, and as such, it offers all the same channels, packages, advantages, and disadvantages of that service. You get a lot of sports content, but it can get pricey. Starts at around $70 per month.
- Hulu + Live TV: Hulu’s live-streaming service is one of the best. For MLB fans, it offers everything you need, with the exception of MLB Network. Hulu also has plenty of non-sports content. Starts at around $70 per month.
- Sling TV: Sling TV is one of the most affordable live-streaming services, and it offers a lot of content for the money. Baseball fans can get everything they need, with the exception of RSNs. Prices start around $50 per month.
- YouTube TV: YouTube TV stopped offering MLB Network in January of 2023, but may sign a new deal before the season starts at the end of March. Starts at around $65 per month.
- MLB.TV: This isn’t just the way to get out-of-market MLB games—it’s also a streaming service, so you can catch your games anywhere. Prices start at around $120 per season for a single team or $140 per season for all teams.
It’s worth noting that, apart from DIRECTV STREAM, none of these services will get you the RSNs you need. Some of them, like Hulu and YouTube TV, carry NBC-affiliated regional sports networks, but that’s it. Sling TV doesn't carry any, which is a shame (though it might help explain why it’s so affordable).
Get ready to hit it out of the park
The best way to watch MLB is DIRECTV combined with MLB EXTRA INNINGS. These two will cover all the bases (get it?), from local, in-market games to every single out-of-market game. Cord-cutters can check out DIRECTV STREAM for an equivalent experience, or Sling TV paired with an antenna for something more affordable.
Dave Schafer is a freelance writer with a passion for making technical concepts easy for anyone to understand. He’s been covering the world of gadgets, tech, and the internet for over 8 years, with a particular focus on TV and internet service providers. When he’s not writing, Dave can be found playing guitar or camping with his family and golden retriever, Rosie.
Bri Field has a background in academia, research writing, and brand marketing. She has edited scientific publications, conference papers, digital content, and technical communications. As Assigning Editor, she enjoys ensuring all content is accurate, clear, and helpful. In her free time, you can find her in the kitchen trying a new recipe, out on a hike, or working through her massive TBR list.