MLB TV Blackout Workaround

Major League Baseball is the second most watched sport in the United States after NFL Football, and MLB.TV is the premium way to stream MLB games live from anywhere on just about any internet capable device. Unfortunately, many MLB.tv subscribers have been left feeling ripped off for being limited on which games are available for live viewing due to MLB blackouts. These blackouts mean many of the baseball games are only available on specific television channels and cities for live viewing. The MLB TV subscription is not cheap either, costing at least $110 USD per year during regular price offerings, and not all baseball sports fans have television cable or satellite plans with all the broadcasting sports networks available to them. In fact, using online streaming is usually a good way to save money on cable by only paying for what you want to watch.

MLB TV Blackouts Explained

Every year, the rights to broadcast Major League Baseball games are sold, or licensed to specific broadcasting giants such as NBC, ABC, Fox, TSN and so on. These broadcasters have television channels for specific regions, allowing them to play games in the cities of the two local teams facing each other. This means games are both locked to certain channels, and also only played on television for the respective team cities or regions where they are being disputed. Because of these blackouts, both MLB.com and MLB.tv subscribers only have live broadcasting of games outside of their own city, or that did not have the rights sold for national broadcasting. The broadcasting channels don’t share the rights to play live games, and often lack any free or paid online streaming services in order to encourage you to watch on local television.

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To simplify this explanation, here is an example of when it can occur. If you are located in New York or Boston, and try to watch a Yankees vs Red Sox game online, MLB.com and MLB.tv will usually indicate that a local blackout is in place, and the game will not be streamed live on their service. You would only be able to watch it on local television. If you are outside of Boston and New York, the game should be available online since you cannot watch it on local television. They are essentially geographically blocked.

MLB.com states the following regarding the broadcasting of live games:

Regular Season Local Live Blackout in the U.S. and Canada: All live games streamed on any MLB.TV product and available through MLB.com At Bat are subject to local, regional or national blackouts. Except for certain MLB regular season and Postseason games as described below or in certain MLB Club home television territories for which MLBAM may offer in-market subscription Services, all live games will be blacked out in each applicable Club’s home television territory. If a game is blacked out in an area, it is not available for live game viewing. If you are an MLB.TV subscriber within an area subject to blackout, the applicable game will be available as an archived game approximately 90 minutes after the conclusion of the game.

Below is a map of all MLB blackout regions from wikipedia:

MLB_Blackout_Areas

Not all games are affected by blackouts, and all games are made available for replay 90 minutes past the end of the game, but what’s the good in that if you already know the score. Nothing beats the excitement of watching live sports and being able to discuss the best plays with friends. But not all is lost for live streaming MLB games, because there is more than one way to bypass and workaround MLB TV blackouts, no matter where you are located. Because live blackouts are region based, it is possible to easily make it appear as if your internet connection is located somewhere else by using a VPN or Smart DNS service.

How to Workaround, Bypass and Avoid MLB.TV Blackouts

As mentioned, the trick is to change your internet IP address location to one where the game is available for live viewing. Both VPN and Smart DNS services allow you to change, or mask your internet IP address and make it appear as if you’re located in the city where you connected the service through. Let’s look at both methods, and step-by-step instructions to work-around MLB blackouts

If you are experiencing a blackout instead of a live stream you will see one of the following error messages:-

  • “Due to Major League Baseball exclusivities, live games occurring each Saturday with a scheduled start time after 1:10 PM ET or before 8:00 PM ET and each Sunday with a scheduled start time after 5:00 PM ET, will be blacked out in the United States.”
  • “We’re sorry. The broadcasters’ required blackout checks cannot be performed at this time. Please try again in a few moments.”
  • “We’re sorry. We have determined that you are located inside one of the applicable Club’s home television territories and are therefore blacked out of watching the game you selected. Live Audio of this game is available as part of your MLB.TV subscription.”
  • This video is not currently available due to local or national blackout restrictions. Please click “Learn More” if you require assistance.

Using a VPN

Arguably the easiest and most effective way, is to sign-up to a Virtual Private Network service, which usually costs a few dollars per month, and provides a VPN service that allows you to connect to dozens of different cities and countries. It also encrypts all your web traffic, so no one including your ISP can actually see what websites you visit or downloads you make. It secures your devices when using public Wi-Fi, which are known to be hotspots for cyber criminals to steal your personal information. Below are the steps to take in order to enjoy live streaming of all MLB games online. VPN services are compatible with any kind of computer, as well as Android, and iOS iPhones or iPads, but it cannot be directly used on gaming consoles or Apple TV boxes for example. It is possible, but would require you to setup the VPN on your network router.

  1. Signup for a VPN service of your choice (suggestions made below)
  2. Install the software app on the device you will stream from
  3. Connect to a server located in a city where the game is not played, or completely out of U.S. or Canada for national blackouts, such as Mexico or Brazil.
  4. Once connected to the VPN server, visit or refresh the MLB stream and it should now be available

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To summarize, if a game is blacked out for Boston and New York, connecting to any other U.S. city through a VPN server will unlock the stream, since it will appear as if you’re located outside the blacked out cities or region. In the case of a national blackout such as special events as the All-Star games or MLB at bat, and online streaming of the game is your only option to watch it, try connecting to a different country other than the U.S. or Canada, but one that is not too far away due to distance causing your internet connection to slow down. A good choice for MLB would be Mexico or even Brazil.

Top VPN Options to Work-Around MLB TV Blackouts

ExpressVPN is my top choice for two reasons. First is speed and overall quality. Not only do they have global coverage with many U.S. locations, but they even provide a SmartDNS service specifically for Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation. With that said, Overplay allows you to pick between or signup for both as well. IPVanish is known for great speeds, and both HideMyAss and VyprVPN come in with great global coverage as well.

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Using Smart DNS

Smart DNS is similar to a VPN service, in regards that it can make your internet connection appear to be from any city or country available of your choice. The service does not encrypt your data, so it can be read by ISPs and often does not work on public networks such as Hotel Wi-Fi. However, some services counter this limitation, such as Unblock-Us which makes the connection go through an un-encrypted VPN. Sound complicated? Don’t worry, all you need to know is that it works the same way, but provides much less security. It makes a great choice if you have a really slow connection, and often provides built-in web browsers and links for several online streams. Additionally, it can be used on Apple TV, Xbox, and PlayStation directly, as where VPNs are not directly compatible.

Overall, the service is mainly marketed to unblock online streams so if that is all you need, it is just as good as a VPN. Below are the steps to take, which are pretty much identical, but can require some setup, or different ways of connecting.

  1. Signup for a SmartDNS service of your choice (suggestions made below)
  2. Connect to a server located in a city where the game is not played, or completely out of U.S. or Canada for national blackouts, such as Mexico or Brazil.
  3. The service might require you to manually configure the DNS service on your device, or they may also have an online portal, or web browser that automatically adjusts the DNS service location, or through a menu with all the available cities, countries.
  4. Once the DNS is configured, or region selected, and connected, you should be able to access the MLB online live stream with no restrictions.

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Every SmartDNS provider may be slightly different, but the configuration is always nearly identical, and they always provide easy to follow tutorials on how to configure the DNS server on all devices. Online tools are often provided, and straight forward enough to get you going in less than a minute.

Top Smart DNS Options to Bypass MLB TV Blackouts

I only suggest a couple of providers at this time, being Overplay and Unblock-Us. Overplay has great speeds and you have the option to include a VPN service, while Unblock-Us works well on public networks such as Wi-Fi connections made available in public locations. Both services have a great online platform with browser tools to unlock various streaming services.

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How to Watch MLB All-Star Game Online from Anywhere

The Major League Baseball All-Star game is viewed by millions of people every year, but depending on where you are located, you may have trouble gaining access to a live stream. In the same fashion as avoiding blackouts, you can use a VPN or Smart DNS to change your location to one where the All-Star game is available online. This year in 2016, the game will be televised on Fox, and streamed on Fox Sports Go online. The service is available to all United States residents, so if you’re located in the U.S., you can tune in to a live stream of MLB All-Star directly on the Fox Sports Go website, however anyone located in any other country would get a message that the service is not available in their region.

Simply connect to a VPN server in the United States, or set your Smart DNS service to the U.S., and you should now have unrestricted access to the online live stream. You can try multiple VPN servers in case one does not work, or causing your internet connection to behave slowly. In summary, that is all you really have to do to unlock the live stream. The same process can be applied to unlock any other sports streams available anywhere in the world.

Conclusion

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, feel free to leave a comment below. I hope that these methods have shed the light needed to get you streaming any MLB game, from anywhere in the world. I personally suggest a VPN over SmartDNS since it provides privacy and security, and when traveling, the security is really important. If you only have Apple TV, or a game console, than smart DNS is the easy way, since a VPN would need to be configured on your network router otherwise The price of both services is very comparable in cost, so the choice is really yours based on your needs. Keep in mind that these services will allow you to unlock any geo-fenced content online, and not just MLB games, so the cost of a few dollars a month is certainly worth it.

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