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Class Action Lawsuit Over MLB Broadcasting Rights Settled Out of Court, Single-Team Option Now Included

If you're a Diamondbacks fan living outside the state of Arizona and want access to all 162 MLB games this year and no other MLB games, you can do so now with MLB.TV.

If you're a Dbacks fan living outside of Arizona, this could be potentially huge news for you.
If you're a Dbacks fan living outside of Arizona, this could be potentially huge news for you.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

I'm not sure how many baseball fans are aware of the potential lawsuit against MLB regarding MLB.TV. We all know by now given the thousands of MLB.TV commercials in baseball games and league affiliated websites that MLB.TV is for the out of market fan who doesn't get Fox Sports Arizona on their regular programming. If you get FS-AZ on your regular television programming, you can ignore this article and go straight into the discussion. For the price of $104.99 a year, you get access to any out of market MLB game. Prior to this year, the price was only one option and you had to buy the total package in order to just get the one team you want to watch. As a Diamondbacks fan, we probably don't care that much about watching Seattle Mariners games.

Fans filed a federal anti-trust class-action lawsuit against MLB, Comcast, and DirecTV because of MLB's and DirecTV's Extra Innings policy of blacking out games in local markets. In addition, the lawsuit also claims that there's no option for fans that want to just purchase a single-team package. The league wound up settling the lawsuit by promising a trial run of a single-team package at a reduced price of $84.99. The biggest issue in this department that's still remaining is the blackouts for local teams. I'm not sure how MLB will deal with that blackout issue, especially for fans that live in the media markets of other teams. For example, if you're a Dbacks fan living in Washington DC, you're getting the 6 games against the Nationals blacked out. If you're a Dbacks fan living abroad however, then this news is good news for you because you're paying 23% less per year to be able to watch Dbacks games.

It will be curious to see how the single-team packages work out for MLB. I assume a lot of MLB.TV subscribers will wind up switching over to the new plan, but whether they keep it or not would depend on if they can grow their customer base. If MLB is able to make more money with more flexibility in their price options, then I could see this sticking around indefinitely. The problem with baseball is weak marketing of their game and a lot of that can be attributed to the length and number of games in a regular season. MLB games don't get the ratings that an NFL game can easily get. We'll see if adding more choices will help MLB expand their outreach and fanbase, I'm guessing it will, especially those that might not be able to afford the full price for all of the games but can afford the single-team price for MLB.TV.