NBC Sports has announced its Comcast regional sports networks will live stream Major League Baseball games in-market to mobiles, computers and tablets and connected TVs, beginning with the 2017 season.

That means, for instance, a Chicago resident could watch his Cubs or White Sox online on an iPad, smart phone or laptop whether he’s home or away from home.

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However, the NBC/MLB streaming deal, which covers 5 MLB teams (White Sox, Cubs, Giants, A’s and Phillies), does nothing to help people who are seeking to eliminate their cable or satellite service because a pay TV subscription will be required to stream the in-market games.

The viewer will have  to type in his or her pay TV user name and password in the NBC Sports app or the Comcast-NBC web site where the games will be shown.

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The ‘authentication’ process further solidifies pay TV’s near-stranglehold on live sports programming, which many people view as a crucial part of their viewing schedule. Besides NFL games, most of which can be viewed via off-air antennas, most live pro and college sports can only be viewed if you have a pay TV subscription.

MLB goes even further in strengthening the regional sports channel by not allowing the in-market games to be streamed on the MLB.TV pay package. You have to have a pay TV subscription to your local Comcast regional sports network.

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Besides the slap at the concept of cord-cutting, the new deal will be welcomed by pay TV baseball fans of the five teams who have longed to watch their favorites while on the go.

The 15 Fox regional sports networks made a similar in-market streaming deal with Major League Baseball prior to the 2016 season. With the addition of CSN, 20 MLB teams will now be available in-market via streaming — with that pay TV subscription.

– Phillip Swann