By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, I want to watch the Baltimore Orioles where I live. But MASN is only available on cable and DIRECTV which is too damn expensive. What is the cheapest way I can watch my Orioles without getting a blackout or paying a lot of money? — Ben, College Park, Maryland.
Ben, readers often write me with complaints about MLB home team blackouts and the high cost of subscribing to a pay TV service. But there is a way for fans to watch their home team without having to pay hundreds of dollars during the season.
MLB TV, the online streaming service for out-of-market games, has a single-team option for $129.99. This enables you to watch one team for less money rather than paying the full $149.99 for all out-of-market games.
But what’s that you say? The plan only includes out-of-market games so, in your case, you couldn’t choose the Orioles as your single team?
Normally that would be correct. But if you purchase a VPN (Virtual Private Network) and install it on your home network, your IP address would not say you are in the Orioles TV territory. You could set the IP address to be in Denmark or Spain, or anyplace that’s isn’t the Washington-Baltimore area. Then, MLB TV would allow you to order the Orioles as your single team and watch the team’s games where you live.
You might say this sounds illegal or unethical. But MLB told The TV Answer Man in 2022 that it had never sued or sought prosecution for anyone who has used a VPN to avoid in-market blackouts. The league even said it did not have a position on whether it approves or opposes the use of VPNs.
Before this, I would have agreed with those who say the practice is at least unethical. But MLB’s neutral stance changed my mind.
If you’re unsure about how to install a VPN, read this article. I would suggest installing one before you actually order the single team plan.
Caveat: While most fans say the VPN enables them to skirt blackouts, we’re talking technology here, right? That means I can’t guarantee it will work in your home. But it’s worth a try. It beats paying for a cable or satellite subscription for the entire baseball season.
It’s also worth noting that Bally Sports Plus, which is $19.99 a month, offers five MLB teams on its cord-cutting app: Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Yes Network has the New York Yankees games in market for $24.99 a month and NESN 360 has the Boston Red Sox games in-market for $29.99 a month. Those seven teams offer a non-VPN alternative for cord-cutters.
Ben, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at firstname.lastname@example.org Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann