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Night Owls – Following a sport from the other side of the world

One of the troubles I first encountered when I started to follow baseball back in 2018 was the time difference and following a sport like baseball is like no other due to the sheer amount of games that are played between the end of March and October each year.

Depending on your level of fandom it can be casually watching a team once a week at a convenient time for you or for 6 months a year its something you make fit into your life.

For me it’s the latter I write and report on baseball stories as part of my life, so I understand that I watch more than the average person (no matter if were talking from the US or Canada or from the UK where I’m based).

As this website is all based on the UK perspective of the sport I wanted to talk a little about the options a new or existing UK fan has and explain how I best fit it in.

For a new fan the first thing is to find your team what team is it you will prominently watching and consuming your newfound love of baseball about. I watch all teams but as a fan of the Yankees most of their games are on at an easier time for me than say if I followed a West Coast team like the Dodgers or the Padres.

The general times of most UK games for the Yankees unless they are on a West Coast jaunt are between about 6.05pm UK time and 12.40am the following morning.

I try to catch most games live but a man’s got to sleep and some days it’s a case of next day watching. If I know for example I need to watch an Astro’s game at Minute Maid Park that’s more than likely going to be a watch and wait for the next day option, unless we are in playoff season where I try to watch as much live as possible.

There are two predominant ways to watch baseball in the UK through TNT sport a subscription-based sports package and the MLB app through a firestick or smart tv (I do my subscription through my Amazon Firestick). I watch through the MLB app as TNT don’t show all games you are beholden to watch games they choose to show. TNT sport is essentially just a feed of the regionalised game coverage you receive through the MLB app anyway.

Since the London series has been announced however BBC has jumped in and started showing both the London series and games from the playoffs in recent years via the red button service.

Watching the BBC coverage was good as they did try and bring in a UK perspective bringing in freelance sports presenter Felix White in to have a UK voice.

 

This is what seems to be part of the MLB’s attempts the bring the game to a wider audience in the UK.

 

Now back to the app, where I see this as a main factor in my choice of using this as a viewing option is the customisation options and tailoring the app around my watching needs. I can choose the option stating I follow the Yankees and this will always appear as the first option to watch but more importantly it gives you the option to hide spoilers for all games essentially being like a Netflix style option giving you access to all the games of the day in any order you want. Another amazing feature for people with lives outside of baseball is the ability to choose for most games a recap of a game which can be a 3 to 4 minute highlights package or condensed game which is a little bit longer normally going up to 10 minutes.

 

Also, where the app differs for UK audiences or any really outside the immediate MLB market is the blackout restrictions. The MLB team immediate local audiences are really having to pay a multitude of different packages to watch their team with the majority going through the local stations like YES for the Yankees or SNY network for the METS (2 separate channels in and around the New York area). Then there are the games on FOX and Apple TV to name a few which are separate costs. To be completely honest if you’re not a game attending fan in person its actually a lot easier and cheaper to follow a team in the UK than it is in an MLB home city.

 

If you want to try before you buy MLB will normally offer at least 1 free game of the day through the MLB.TV app giving a new fan a chance to check out a number of teams and a number of games at no cost before you need to make any sort of financial commitment. If the baseball bug gets you, it’s actually a really easy sport to be able to have access to watch and gives you the options of following just 1 team or as many as you like.

 

You can currently get MLB.TV on a yearly deal through Amazon for $149.99 US dollar equivalent, TNT sports can be from around £20 a month depending of what package you pay for. During the year you will find MLB.TV will have sales on mine auto renews around Father’s Day in America each yeah and costs me around £50 a year. Give it a try I feel the MLB accessibility options will be a feature that could greatly promote the game this side of the pond.

Let me know how accessible you have found the game if you live in the UK or Abroad?

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