Tuesday, April 20, 2021
HomeWorld Tech NewsHow cord-cutters can watch Major League Baseball without cable

How cord-cutters can watch Major League Baseball without cable

After being forced by the COVID-19 pandemic into a delayed and truncated season in 2020, Major League Baseball will return to something approaching normal in 2021. We’ll get a full 162-game regular season running from April 1 to October 3, and most teams will allow limited fan attendance at their games.

Unfortunately for those of us watching at home, it might be more difficult to catch our favorite teams in action. Over the last two years, Sling TV, FuboTV, YouTube TV, and Hulu + Live TV have each in turn dropped Sinclair-owned Fox Sports regional networks from their lineups. Only the pricey AT&T TV streaming service will offer those channels, now rebranded Bally Sports regional networks, in 2021.

Updated March 31, 2021 for the current season. Updated again on April 1, 2021 to report that Sling TV (and Dish Network) have removed NBC Regional Sports Networks from their product offerings, a decision that impacts residents of 10 states. The service also dropped MASN, a regional sports network owned by the Washington Nationals and the Baltimore Orioles. You’ll find the details in this press release on Sling TV’s website.

That presents a significant hurdle because unlike the NFL or NBA, MLB is largely a regional league, with most teams’ games aired on local cable-only networks such as Fox Sports San Diego or NBC Sports Bay Area. The Fox Sports regional networks carry regular-season games for more than a dozen teams, and those teams’ fans will now need to spend $30 to $40 more per month to watch those games than they paid for one of the aforementioned streaming services.

As in past years, nationally broadcast games will continue to be split among ESPN, FOX, FS1, TBS, and MLB Network. Of these, only Fox can be accessed over the air, but there are still ways to get the other four networks without an expensive cable subscription. Let’s look at the options.

slingtv mlb TechHive

Sling TV includes ESPN in its channel lineup as well as NBC Sports regional content in select markets, allowing some fans to watch their hometown teams.

Over the air

Since broadcast baseball has largely gone the way of Sunday doubleheaders, there are few options for watching any game without a subscription of one kind or another. The Fox network, however, can still be had for free with a good indoor antenna. That will give you access to a bunch of nationally broadcast Saturday-afternoon games.

If you’re purchasing an antenna for the first time, remember to first check to see which stations you can receive in your area and which type of antenna you’ll need to pull in your local Fox affiliate.


If you have Fox broadcast accounted for via an antenna, you can catch all the rest of the MLB action with an AT&T TV subscription. Not only is it the only way to stream all the Bally Sports Networks (formerly Fox Sports Regional Networks), it’s the service with the most regional sports network coverage overall, including the NBC Sports regional networks, Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, New England Sports Network, YES Network, and Spectrum SportsNet LA. It also offers ESPN, FS1, TBS and MLB Network.

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