Watch Baseball Online: Live Stream MLB games
With the 2018 baseball season about to begin, it’s time to get a primer on all the new ways you can watch your home team without cable.
This guide will show you the least expensive options to watch baseball online using legal streaming services that you can try out for free. Regional Sports Networks are more available this year on live TV streaming platforms like Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV, fuboTV and DirecTV Now.
Even harder-to-get channels like NESN can be had on YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and fuboTV.
This season, 22 out of 30 major league baseball teams can be watched online or live streamed to your TV using a Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and NVIDIA Shield TV. These games can be watched on your iPhone or Android smartphone as well.
Games that are nationally broadcasted are shown on ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, Fox Sports 1, TBS, MLB Network, and even Facebook.
The social media platform has the rights to five games this year. For those of us that require a RSN to watch your favorite home team, below is a cheat sheet that I’ve assembled. This is far from a complete listing of your options this year, so if you know of a RSN in your area, please drop a comment below. Following the guide, you’ll get a breakdown of channel lineups and subscription costs so you can get a good deal before your favorite players take the field.
|San Francisco Giants||NBC SportsBay Area||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Oakland Athletics||NBC Sports California||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Chicago White Sox||NBC Sports Chicago||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Boston Red Sox||NESN||fuboTV|
|Chicago Cubs||NBC Sports Chicago||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Philadelphia Phillies||NBC SportsPhiladelphia||fuboTV|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Fox Sports Arizona||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Detroit Tigers||Fox Sports Detroit||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Miami Marlins||Fox Sports Florida||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Kansas City Royals||Fox Sports Kansas City||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Fox Sports Midwest||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Minnesota Twins||Fox Sports North||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Cincinnati Reds||Fox Sports Ohio or FS Cin.||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|San Diego Padres||Fox Sports San Diego||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Atlanta Braves||Fox Sports South||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Texas Rangers||Fox Sports Southwest||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Fox Sports Sun||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|L.A. Angels of Anaheim||Fox Sports West||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Fox Sports Wisconsin||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|Cleveland Indians||SportsTime Ohio||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
|New York Mets||SportsNet NY||fuboTV|
|New York Yankees||YES Network||fuboTV||Sling Blue||DirecTV Now|
Watch baseball for free with an antenna
Having an antenna at this time of year helps, too. You can watch all MLB games shown on FOX with a decent antenna. That includes the World Series.
Those games will come to you in uncompressed HD quality. With summer right around the corner, there’s nothing like being able to watch a baseball game in your back yard using an antenna. It’s old school cool. I prefer the ClearStream Eclipse for an indoor antenna. An Antop “Big Boy” 400BV is a better choice if you need one mounted to your attic or roof. To get an idea on where broadcast towers are in your area, check out AntennaWeb.org or tvfool.com.
Check out the full MLB National Broadcast Schedule to get an idea of which games are being broadcast on FOX. All you need to do is go to the Choose Club box on the right side of the full schedule, and pick your team.
The advantage of streaming services like DirecTV Now, Sling TV or even fuboTV is that they are tapping into regional sports networks. So, if you’re that Red Sox fan, you can get NESN (New England Sports Network) on fuboTV watch all of your Red Sox games at home.
Watch Baseball Online with MLB.TV
MLB.TV is an option for watching out-of-market regular season MLB games live online. It’s not an option for watching local games because of blackout restrictions. Local games that are blacked out are not available live on MLB.TV. Instead, those local games are made available as archived content about 90 minutes after the conclusion of the game.
Some people use a VPN service to mask their location as a way to watch a game live. One avenue is a service called SmartDNS, which offers ways to watch content by routing the IP address of your device to another region. I don’t use VPNs myself, but it’s out there as an alternative.
If you go that route, you’re paying more and having to pay for a workaround on top of that. It’s not exactly an elegant solution, but it’s doable.
A subscription to watch one team’s out-of-market regular season games live or on-demand costs $89.99 yearly. For an all-teams subscription, you can watch every out-of-market regular season game either live or on-demand for $24.99 per month, or $115.99 yearly.
Hulu with Live TV: Watch baseball online without cable
If you’re going with a live TV streaming service for baseball,Hulu with Live TVwill be the best choice for most people. That’s because Hulu’s Live TV service has more FOX stations in the U.S. than any other streaming service at the moment.
You’ll get 60+ channels and 50 hours of Cloud DVR for $40 per month. Essential baseball channels like ESPN, ESPN2, TBS and FS1 are part of the channel lineup. Regional channels like NBC Sports and NBCSN are included as well.
Hulu with Live TV works on Roku, Apple TV and Fire TV and Fire Stick. And you’ll be able to use your subscription to sign into apps like WatchESPN and FOX Sports.
You can look over Hulu’s channel lineup for live tv to see what’s available by entering your zip code.
Hulu gives you full access to its entire on-demand library for TV shows and movies that people pay $7.99 and up for. That includes Hulu Originals like “The Path”, “Chance” and “Shut Eye”. So you’re basically getting two streaming services in one.
Try out Hulu with Live TV free for a week. If it’s not a good fit, you can easily cancel online before your trial expires.
YouTube TV: Stream baseball games live
I know from testing out YouTube TV that NESN is part of its channel lineup in New England. They also offer ESPN, FOX and TNT in its channel lineup. I’m currently subscribing to YouTube TV so I can get NESN for the summer.
A subscription costs $40 per month for about 50 channels. Hulu with Live TV has similar offerings for $40 per month, but the availability of local sports channels is unclear. I couldn’t find any comprehensive list of RSNs for either YouTube TV or Hulu with Live TV. You can try out YouTube TV free for 7 days and Hulu with Live TV offers the same deal.
DirecTV Now: Watch baseball online free for a week
DirecTV Now has FOX on all four of its channel bundles, but you’ll need to bump up to its $50 per month plan to get regional sports networks.
It’s a reliable option, but it’s also the most expensive. Subscribing to the Just Right bundle will get you 80+ channels for $50 per month and access to regional sports networks. The Go Big bundle is 100+ channels for $60 per month, and the Gotta Have It bundle has 120+ channels for $70 per month.
DirecTV Now has all the NBC and Fox regional sports networks, giving coverage for about 19 teams. Nationally televised games can be streamed via DirecTV Now on ESPN, ESPN2, FOX, FS1, MLB Network and TBS.
The best way to confirm that DirecTV Now is carrying a regional sports network in your area is to use this handy channel lookup. You will notice two search boxes. The one on the right searches for RSN Just type in your zip and you will get a quick readout below. You can search for other local channels as well with the box on the left.
DirecTV Now also provides access to TV Everywhere apps for five Comcast Sports Network channels. So your app access may be another avenue to watch baseball online. The channel will have to be part of your channel lineup for app authentication to work. The channels are CSN BayArea, CSN California, CSN Chicago, CSN Mid-Atlantic and CSN New England.
You can now stream the live TV streaming service on Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV or other media devices. iPhone and Android smartphone users can watch DirecTV Now on the go, and if you’re an AT&T customers, you never have to worry about data caps.
DirecTV Now has a free 7-day trial so you can check out their service without obligation.
fuboTV: more options to watch baseball online
fuboTV expanded the number of regional sports networks it carries, so it now has coverage of about 21 teams. fuboTV has 80 percent of the RSNs offered in the U.S. and will show 70 percent of MLB games through its service in 2018.
The regional sports networks include ones owned by Fox or Comcast and YES Network, and privately owned ones like NESN. It also includes NBC Sports RSNs and ones formerly known as Comcast SportsNet.
The RSNs are offered through the fubo Premier bundle, which gives you 70+ channels for $44.99 per month. New customers only pay $19.99 for the first month following a 7-day free trial. Subscribers get 30 hours of Cloud DVR. fuboTV has apps for Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV. There are mobile apps for Android and iPhone.
The drawback for fuboTV is that it lacks TBS or ESPN in its channel lineup. Your subscription gives you access to more than 30 TV Everywhere apps and websites.
When you use fuboTV outside of your home (and zip code), you will still be able to watch all your local FOX and NBC regional sports networks. Local NBC stations are also available when you travel. But local Fox stations might be limited at times based on your location. fuboTV offers a free 7-day trial without any obligation.
SLING TV: Live Stream baseball games without cable
Sling TV has coverage for about 19 major league teams through Fox Regional Sports Networks and Fox Sports 1.
You will need to sign up for the Sling Blue channel package if you want to live stream baseball games during the regular season. A Sling Blue subscription costs $25 per month for 45 channels. If you want to have ESPN and TNT as well you will need to also have the Sling Orange bundle, which gives you another 29 channels for $20 per month.
Add-on packages for smaller channel bundles typically cost $5 to $10 more per month, but there isn’t one that’s really going to help with watch MLB games. Sling TV has also implemented a Cloud DVR. That costs $5 per month. Sling TV works on pretty much every streaming device, including Roku, Amazon Fire TV and Android TV devices.
You can try Sling TV with a free 7-day trial with no commitment.
PlayStation Vue: Watch baseball without cable on RSN, FS1 channels
As I mentioned earlier, PlayStation Vue added NESN to its channel lineup last fall, so this is an ideal service for watching Red Sox and Bruins games. PS Vue also has ESPN, MLB Network, FS1, FS2, Fox Sports and others that might satisfy your sports-viewing needs outside of baseball.
Their latest sports-related addition is the MLB Network. PlayStation 4 owners also became the first to get a new, multi-screen feature before the start of March Madness. The multi-screen option allows PS Vue subscribers to watch three screens at once. PlayStation Vue also has TBS, which you will need to watch the National League Championship Series.
PlayStation Vue has a free 5-day trial that allows you to try out their service.
What’s the best way to watch baseball online without cable?
The cheapest route for you may be a Sling Blue plan for $25 per month if it offers coverage of your favorite team. Try out Sling TV free for 7 days.
Hulu with Live TV is another option worth trying because it has more FOX channels than any other service, and all the essential channels you’ll need like ESPN, ESPN2 TBS and FS1. Try out Hulu with Live TV free for 7-days and see what you think.
Getting fuboTV for the 2018 baseball season is also a much better option this year because it’s showing so many games. fuboTV only costs $19.99 for the first month after a free 7-day trial.
How are you going to watch baseball online this year? Tell fellow readers (all the legal options) in the comments below.
Founder and Editor of The Cord Cutting Report. Before launching the site in 2016, he worked for more than two decades as a staff writer or correspondent for a number of daily newspapers, including The Boston Globe. His enthusiasm for tech began with the Atari 2600. Follow @james_kimble