MLB Goes ‘Big Brother’ To Protect Blackout Rule

One very cool aspect of the MLB is the digital innovation. Their MLB.TV application is perfect for fans outside their team’s viewing area, and it’s only getting better with the At Bat iPhone/iTouch application. For just $10, the user can watch streaming video of baseball games on their iDevice, which is awesome as long as you’re not driving. In fact, we might go so far as to call the MLB the most technology-friendly sport in America.

Blackout Map
(This is what a clusterfudge looks like.)

…That is, of course, if it weren’t for the arcane, obsolete blackout rule that still dominates game coverage. For fans in the immediate area of major league teams, the rule has no real bearing on their MLB.tv account; the games are blacked out, yes, but they can still just watch on regular television. For fans outside market areas, though, this presents a real problem; as you can see by the map above (larger version here), some areas like Las Vegas and the state of Iowa are in six “local viewing” areas - and by “local viewing,” they mean blackout.

With something as portable as an iPhone or iTouch, though, simply using a credit card number to determine the local viewing area is insufficient. Well, because it’s portable, and because they can do much better.

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