By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I read your articles about using a VPN to beat the baseball blackouts. Do you know if it really works? Do you know anyone who is using one to beat the blackout in his area using MLB TV? Please expand on this topic. — Joel, Manhattan Beach, California.
Joel, a Virtual Private Network, known as a VPN, can beat baseball’s blackouts. The software, which you download from a VPN service and then add to your home modem and/or streaming device, will shield your location from the MLB TV servers. This enables you to watch your in-market team on MLB TV because the system thinks you are living somewhere else. (Normally, MLB TV blackouts your home team or teams.)
While MLB TV is costly ($149 for the season), it’s cheaper than paying for six months of a cable or satellite TV service, or a live streamer such as DIRECTV Stream or FuboTV.
There have been a number of questions over the years regarding whether the use of VPN to skirt blackouts is legal or ethical. But as I pointed out in one recent article, MLB says it has no position on the use of VPNs and it has never sued anyone or taken criminal action against anyone who has used one. The league is not openly encouraging you to use a VPN, but neither is it openly telling you NOT to use one.
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But does a VPN really work when trying to avoid a blackout of your home team?
Since MLB’s opening day last Thursday, numerous fans have taken to social media sites, such as Twitter, to boast that they are watching their home teams with a VPN. And, for the most part, they are saying the software is working as intended. Here are some of the more interesting comments:
Praise the T-Mobile and VPN gods I can watch Royals baseball for the first time in years pic.twitter.com/45TVtDrstM
— B Lew (@BLewis2080) March 30, 2023
A solid VPN is a baseball fan’s best friend #mlb
— The Couch GM (@The_Couch_GM) March 30, 2023
In a VPN you can put your location to multiple places in either the country or around the world. For example, I live in Kentucky and all of the Cincinnati Reds games are blacked out. I turned on my VPN put my location to Houston and the Reds game was available on MLB TV!
— The Bookies Boogeyman (@Vuick_) April 1, 2023
Yes you can. I watched the Twins yesterday on my MLB app yesterday at work in the Twin Cities. You just have to use a VPN.
— Tony Tecate (@thetonytecate) April 1, 2023
I only gotta pay 12 bucks a month for the vpn (and get mlb free), is Bally cheaper than that? 🤔 I didn’t look at it
— 𝚓𝚎𝚕𝚕𝚜 (@JellyStilettos) March 31, 2023
Luckily I’m out of the blackout area since I live in Cleveland. But when games are blacked out, I use VIP Box. Just make sure you use a VPN. There will be a lot of ads to click through
— Billy (@BillyK253) April 2, 2023
I don't what your situation is regarding if you have other people in your household that don't watch sports etc but for me who lives alone I use a VPN ($45 a year) and a MLB TV subscription roughly the same price per month as Bally stand-alone would solve your problem 1/2
— Nathan Fournier (@jrhockeywriter) March 31, 2023
This has been a known work around for the better part of a decade. MLB is well aware. It takes time and additional money on top of an MLB subscription to make work. Flagging every VPN IP address that routinely changes isn't worth it to stop the small % of people who do it
— BWP (@beeWpdoubleE) March 31, 2023
If you have MLB TV and a VPN to put yourself out of NY, the stream avoids most broadcast issues
— cdLevo 🇪🇭 (@cdLevo) April 2, 2023
I use ESPN+ plus a vpn to watch Kraken games. Should work the same for MLB tv
— Nick Wupper (@NickWupper) April 1, 2023
Last year I subscribed to MLB TV and used a VPN. There are limitations this way but it was quite affordable. If you buy a membership to MLBPAA you can actually save 50% on mlb tv.
— Cincy B (@bterry50) March 31, 2023
It's pathetic that using a VPN on the MLB site is easier than using the site DESIGNED FOR STREAMING THE METS
— 🍿 (@duckisgod) April 1, 2023
Subscribe to a VPN – it will let you bypass the archaic blackout restrictions
— Ewok_Baseball (@Baseball_Ewok) March 30, 2023
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— Phillip Swann
You don’t need a full VPN. Just a DNS that doesn’t report your location.
I guess you’re getting tired of this issue…..Anyway, my VPN vs FireStick issue calmed down & decided to play nice together.
Go Astros. Thanks for staying on the Beat!
I purchased a DNS subscription for a cheap price, plugged it into my AppleTV, and the free MLB subscription from T-Mobile lifts all the blackouts.
Not an immediate fix, but my state legislature has a bill in the works that would make MLB blackouts illegal in the state and it stands a good chance of passing. 6 teams are blacked out in a state without a MLB franchise, Iowa, the most blackouts in any state.
I have NordVPN. If I access a game through the MLB.tv website, it works. It does not work with FireStick and the MLB app.
No wonder the RSN’s are losing money. Do these VPNers also hide in the trunk to get in drive in theaters for free?