Even more MLB games will be available to stream in 2017

Big League Stew
MLB is loosening their grip on where and how you can watch baseball games. (Getty Images)
MLB is loosening their grip on where and how you can watch baseball games. (Getty Images)

Good news for people who want more ways to watch baseball! NBC Sports Regional Networks has reached a deal with MLB Advanced Media on in-market streaming rights. Starting with the 2017 season, several Comcast regional sports networks will be able to stream baseball games online for their paid subscribers. (NBCUniversal is owned by Comcast.)

Involved in this agreement are four regional sports networks that service five different MLB teams: CSN Chicago, which covers the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox, CSN Philadelphia, which covers the Philadelphia Phillies, CSN Bay Area, which covers the San Francisco Giants, and CSN California, which covers the Oakland Athletics.

Just because you live in the broadcast areas of those channels doesn’t mean you can automatically get those games on your phone, though. You need to be a paid subscriber of a cable package that includes that channel, so this isn’t an alternative to MLB.TV, MLB’s popular streaming service. However, as long as you’re a subscriber, you’ll be able to access the games anywhere in the US once you log in and get your subscription authenticated. So you can watch the games from your back yard, or in a hotel while you’re on vacation.

This solves a problem for people who are cable subscribers, but who might not be able to watch games on their TVs. Until this deal, anyone in that situation was out of luck. MLB.TV wasn’t an option, since that service blacks out subscribers who are trying to watch a game in their own geographic market. Now they get access to the games online without paying a separate fee, since it’s included in their cable subscription.

This deal includes access to pregame and postgame shows, and everything will be available for streaming on the NBC Sports app (available on smartphones and multiple other platforms like Roku and Apple TV), or directly on the website for the specific regional sports network.

Four cities doesn’t seem like much, but the granting of in-network streaming rights is definitely progress. Hopefully this is a sign of more deals covering more cities and teams in the future.

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Liz Roscher is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at lizroscher@yahoo.com or follow her on twitter! Follow @lizroscher

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