But those days are gone, as in recent seasons Major League Baseball has only distributed games to streaming services like Facebook and YouTube. And on Friday night, the biggest impact will be on the cards yet. The match against their biggest rival, the Chicago Cubs, will be shown exclusively on Apple TV+, which broadcasts MLB doubleheaders this season. There is no BSM – or any other TV channel, for that matter.
Those with a smart TV are able to watch, as well as anyone with another device such as a smartphone, computer, etc., that is connected to Apple. There is no viewing fee, however, an Apple account – with ID – is required to access. (More instructions below.)
It’s the most significant step for Cardinals fans in a trend that began in 2018, when Facebook exclusively broadcast two of their games. There were two on YouTube in 2019, and two more there only in 2021. (None of them aired exclusively in the 2020 season that has been truncated by the pandemic.)
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It came as a shock to some Cardinals fans this season when Apple and Paramount became exclusives to MLB screens, and some Cardinals nights were picked up for Apple’s exclusive Double Header bundle on Friday night. So far, those have been road contests against the Reds and the lowly pirates. The Peacock’s only contest was an early Sunday away game against the Buccaneers.
It all ends Friday, when the opening of Cubs’ only midsummer visit series to St. , at 8:30.)
Baltimore Orioles anchor Melanie Newman doing the stage show in St. Louis, with former senior league teammate Chris Young and Yahoo Sports’ Hannah Keyser providing the analysis. Brock Fletcher of Bally Sports is the reporter.
It is not known if the Cardinals will appear again this season, but nothing is imminent. Apple’s schedule is set until July, and they’re not. They are also not on the peacock list, which is in place until September 4. Peacock presents competitions that start at 11 am on Sundays.
Other games in the series on BSM
Sinclair Broadcasting, owner of Bally Sports Midwest, is in the midst of a 15-year contract for the team’s regional television broadcast rights. Pays Cardinals more than $1 billion over the life of the deal, which runs through 2032
The agreement allows for about a dozen games to be shown exclusively by MLB’s national partners, so it could have been a lot worse for BSM this weekend – which is one of the summer’s most-watched series in an already solid season for BSM. She says card viewership is up 19% compared to the same point last season.
Bally Sports Midwest could have lost the Saturday Cards-Cubs contest to Fox, which shows regional games live that night, and ESPN could have picked up the next game for their “Sunday Night Baseball” show this weekend.
But neither of them happened. So BSM has both at 6:15 pm on Saturday and 1:15 pm on Sunday. Dan McLaughlin, as usual, has his way of playing. Brad Thompson is the commentator for both television broadcasts, with Jim Hayes and Scott Warman reporting as well as Ricky Horton in the studio. Horton will also be on broadcast games (KMOX, 1120 a.m. and team network).
MLB Pays Forward
MLB officials know that the broadcast-only policy has angered some fans. But Commissioner Rob Manfred, in this age of declining cable TV subscriptions and the rise in popularity of streaming options, looks as if deals like those with Apple and Peacock are not only here to stay, but will only grow in the years to come.
“We are always sensitive to fan concerns; I understand the idea of ’I used to find a game here and now it’s moved elsewhere,'” he said at a press conference following recent MLB owners’ meetings. Partners like that on the digital side of the business have been critical to our long-term efforts to make games more widely available, widely available on a flexible basis the way consumers want to buy them. It’s a short-term problem designed to put us in a position to provide greater access in the long term.”
These exclusive, current, streaming deals bring windfall profits to the league’s desks — $85 million annually from Apple, and $30 million annually from Peacock, according to reports. Manfred described them as “really important” elements in a “rapidly changing media environment.
“Having a relationship with Peacock and more broadly with[Peacock’s parent company NBCUniversal]is important to us in the long run,” Manfred said. “Apple is innovative, and we need to be innovative in our efforts to bring games to fans on the platforms they use and visit most frequently.”
Apple-Peacock deals make their games available to audiences in some remote areas that are usually withheld from regional broadcasts under the MLB’s confusing geo-restriction policy. Apple and Peacock productions are treated the same as for national TV broadcasts on a regular network TV, with no blackout areas.
“We are concerned about our arrival,” Manfred said at that press conference. “We believe we have fans who want to watch baseball and don’t feel they have enough opportunity to do so. There is a strong feeling among the ownership that … (we) should get into the digital space in particular to provide fans with greater and more flexible opportunities to watch the games.”
But in return, it takes them away from viewers who would normally understand but won’t because they don’t want, or don’t know how, to use the streaming services. The immediate concern appears to be dealing with these fans out of the market at the expense of regional cable networks and rather than rewriting the rules of regional blackout.
“…it’s about giving fans who might be outside of traditional cable packages enough opportunity to watch our games,” Manfred said, adding that it’s a concern that some potential viewers “don’t have enough opportunity to do so.”
Here are ways to access Friday’s Cardinals-Cubs TV broadcast on Apple TV+, according to Major League Baseball and Apple. Remember that an Apple account is required:
• Launch the Apple TV app and directly select the game from there.
• From the MLB.TV app, tap Apple TV + Game. You will be redirected to the Apple TV app (if available).
• Go to https://tv.apple.com/ and sign in with – or create – your Apple ID.
It is recommended that those who haven’t seen Apple before should try calling early. Pre-match show starts at 6:30pm
Additional contact information is at: