With the 2023 Major League Baseball (MLB) season in full swing, every day throughout the spring and summer will feature a fresh slate of contests. But if you’re a cord cutter or someone just getting into baseball, it might be a little tough to watch your favorite MLB team. Luckily, we can help. Here’s a look at our complete viewer’s guide on how to watch MLB games during the 2023 season, which include explanations regarding RSNs, MLB.TV, VPNs, and more.
What channels are MLB games on?
Before we get into the channels, we need to emphasize that every team’s TV schedule will vary. This is due to a number of factors, which can include game times and nationally televised broadcasts. However, most games will be aired by the regional sports network (RSN) that owns the TV rights for each MLB team.
Here’s a look at the network that primarily broadcasts each team’s games:
|Arizona Diamondbacks||MLB/Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Atlanta Braves||Bally Sports South|
|Boston Red Sox||NESN|
|Chicago Cubs||Marquee Sports Network|
|Chicago White Sox||NBC Sports Chicago|
|Cincinnati Reds||Bally Sports Ohio|
|Cleveland Guardians||Bally Sports Great Lakes|
|Colorado Rockies||AT&T Sportsnet Rocky Mountains|
|Detroit Tigers||Bally Sports Detroit|
|Houston Astros||AT&T Sportsnet Southwest|
|Kansas City Royals||Bally Sports Kansas City|
|Los Angeles Angels||Bally Sports West|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Sportsnet Los Angeles|
|Miami Marlins||Bally Sports Florida|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Bally Sports Wisconsin|
|Minnesota Twins||Bally Sports North|
|New York Mets||SNY|
|New York Yankees||YES|
|Oakland Athletics||NBC Sports California|
|Philadelphia Phillies||NBC Sports Philadelphia|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||AT&T Sportsnet Pittsburgh|
|San Diego Padres||MLB/San Diego Padres|
|San Francisco Giants||NBC Sports Bay Area|
|Seattle Mariners||Root Sports Northwest|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Bally Sports Midwest|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Bally Sports Sun|
|Texas Rangers||Bally Sports Southwest|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Rogers Sportsnet|
In virtually all cases, you’ll need either cable/satellite to watch these telecasts or a streaming service that carries the regional sports network that you want.
We should note that there will be variations for each team. Some teams do have alternate networks that show local games. For example, certain Mets games will air on WPIX (11.1 in New York), while there will be Phillies games on WCAU (10.1 in Philadelphia). If you’re a Yankee fan, be advised that there will be games that air on the Amazon Prime streaming service. In order to watch those games, an Amazon Prime subscription is required.
There’s also a layer of uncertainty regarding the business of regional sports networks, specifically the Bally Sports and AT&T Sportsnet channels. Bally Sports’ owner, Diamond Sports, filed for bankruptcy and is looking to re-negotiate rights deals as a result. And as for AT&T Sportsnet, owner Warner Bros. has decided to get out of the RSN business and is in the process of offloading those networks.
The first team to be affected by Bally Sports’ turmoil is the San Diego Padres. Beginning on May 31, the Padres no longer have games aired on Bally Sports San Diego. Instead, Padres games now air on MLB.TV as well as networks designated by the league. The Arizona Diamondbacks joined the Padres on July 18.
In additional to regional sports networks, select MLB games also air on the league’s national television partners. FOX, FS1, NBC, ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN+, and TBS are all set to air Major League games in 2023, as will MLB Network.
If you’re looking to watch out-of-market games — MLB contests that feature teams not in your specific region — there are a number of options at your disposal. Cable and satellite subscribers can purchase MLB Extra Innings.
MLB Extra Innings costs $149.99 for the entire season, and may also come with a subscription for MLB.TV. Check with your local provider to confirm whether MLB.TV comes with Extra Innings.
Or, one could purchase MLB.TV outright. MLB.TV, much like MLB Extra Innings, costs $149.99 ($30.00 as of 9/23 and free for college students) for the whole 2023 season — but there are ways one can save money on a subscription.
MLB.TV can be viewed on a PC, laptop, tablet, smartphone, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 5, or a streaming device like a Amazon Fire TV stick.
An MLB.TV subscription is advantageous to have for a few reasons, and we’ll get more into what you can and can’t do with it in a bit.
One note we would like to mention here is that aside from games aired in your market by a RSN, nationally televised games aired on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball, Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball, and Peacock’s MLB Sunday Leadoff are all not available to be seen live on MLB.TV. Replays of those games, however, can be viewed on MLB.TV.
We’ve touched in this a bit already, but games aired by a RSN in your region (i.e. the Yankees in the New York City area) are subject to blackout on MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings. Additionally, certain TBS and MLB Network games that feature a team from your region may also be subject to blackout and not aired.
This is done in order to protect the RSN that airs the local broadcast and give that network true exclusivity. However, there are some issues with this format.
Namely, the largest problem is the breadth of the land that can be covered by a Major League team. For example, baseball fans in Las Vegas — a city that doesn’t have a MLB team, but may in the future — are blacked out from watching six teams via MLB.TV and MLB Extra Innings.
Those teams are the Los Angeles Angels and Dodgers, San Diego Padres, Arizona Diamondbacks, Oakland Athletics, and San Francisco Giants.
It’s a little strange for all of those teams to be blacked out in the Las Vegas area, especially given the distance between Vegas and the home sites for those team. For reference, the distance between Las Vegas and San Francisco is about 569 miles. However, these are the rules as of 2023.
However, one could get around the blackout rules using a legal hack. We’ll get more into that in a bit.
Apple TV+ and Peacock
Apple TV+ games are shown every Friday through September 22, and usually two games will be aired on the platform a week. For Peacock in the United States, the MLB Sunday Leadoff will feature an early Sunday matinee every week from late April through Labor Day.
In 2022, MLB fans did not have to pay for an Apple TV+ subscription in order to watch games aired on the service.
That, however, has changed in 2023. To have access to Apple TV+, a monthly fee of $7.99 is required. And as for Peacock, individuals can pay as as low as $4.99/month to gain access to MLB games aired on the platform.
What about a VPN?
If you don’t like dealing with blackouts or don’t have a cable/satellite subscription, there is a bit of a workaround.
As we reported back in March, blacked out MLB games aired by an RSN can be viewed on MLB.TV if a virtual private network (VPN) is active and virtually changes the user’s location to one out of the local region.
We’d also like to point out that MLB.TV subscribers in 2022 were also able to watch Peacock broadcasts on the platform, provided that a VPN was set to a non-US location.
We should, though, note that this method for how to watch MLB games is not failproof. It is entirely possible that Major League Baseball could crack down on VPNs in the near future by either preventing individuals using one from accessing the app or banning those who do use one.
2023 MLB Postseason
After the regular season has concluded, you might ask yourself this question: how can I watch MLB postseason games in 2023?
Only regular season games are aired by regional sports networks. MLB Postseason games are exclusively aired by the league’s national television partners.
However, the Blue Jays are an exception to this rule. Since Sportsnet owns MLB Postseason rights in Canada, any playoff games will also be aired on the channel.
Here’s a look at how the MLB Playoffs are scheduled to be aired on U.S. TV in 2023:
- MLB Wild Card Round: ABC/ESPN
- ALDS/ALCS: FOX/FS1
- NLDS/NLCS: TBS/TNT
- World Series: FOX
FOX owns the exclusive rights to the World Series. Keep in mind that in order to view these games, you’ll need either a cable/satellite subscription or a streaming service that gives access to these channels.