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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Miami New Times: Kotz: The Screwball Economics of Major League Baseball

Don’t have time to wade through…rather check Cheap Miami’s latest Whorish Boorish.

With no one saying no, the networks see sports as a no-lose racket, with ESPN as its piper. The sports channel charges cable companies $5 a month per customer, by far the highest monthly fee in national television. While that may seem a pittance, it’s big money when spread over the 100 million U.S. households with pay TV. And it’s made the other big boys envious.

NBC and CBS have launched their own sports channels. Another from Fox is on the way. Even regional sports channels are starting to broach that $5 mark. Their bet is that viewers will always be willing to pay more. And more. And more.

Economics on the ground say otherwise. Today, the average TV bill rests at $86 per month, about half of which pays for sports programming. That’s more than double a decade ago. So it’s no coincidence that the cable and satellite industries have been jettisoning customers for nine years straight.

The new round of deals promises to hasten these unpleasant trends. “I can’t tell you what will be the trigger,” says Matthew Polka, president of the American Cable Association. “But I am certain that at some point in the very near future, that balloon will burst.”

And when it does, baseball will take the brunt of the explosion.

Repoz Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:18 AM | 66 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, history

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   1. Chris Needham Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:32 AM (#4396569)
I cut the cord about four months ago... and honestly, I haven't missed it. I still can get MLB.tv through the Roku. And while I won't be able to watch live Nats games, I can listen to the radio and watch archived broadcasts. And the Nats are sure to be on Fox and other free tv (they have a limited over-the-air deal), so I'll get enough of a fix. I still have internet costs, but $50 (or whatever) beats the nearly $200 bill I had before.
   2. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:39 AM (#4396577)
I am very close to cutting the cord myself. I really am tired of paying for a hundred channels I never watch.
   3. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:43 AM (#4396582)
Ditto Chris, except I only dumped DirecTV a month ago. I can watch Nats games, so maybe we can work out a Slingbox deal so I can watch the Marlins! WOO HOO!
   4. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:47 AM (#4396587)
And while I won't be able to watch live Nats games,


Oh you could if you just looked around a wee bit.
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:49 AM (#4396589)
Given the amount of time I spend in front of the TV and computer the $126.20 I spend a month doesn't feel unreasonable. I wish it was cheaper but that's true about any number of things.
   6. Chris Needham Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:53 AM (#4396593)
[4] I did that the first season, when nobody had the Nats' cable network.

I'm older (much older) and have less energy (much less) to go hunting around the virus-filled underbelly of Teh Internets to find a way to route my laptop through North Korea when I can listen to them on the radio and laugh at the Yankees on the tv in the background.
   7. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:55 AM (#4396595)

I cut the cord about four months ago... and honestly, I haven't missed it. I still can get MLB.tv through the Roku. And while I won't be able to watch live Nats games, I can listen to the radio and watch archived broadcasts. And the Nats are sure to be on Fox and other free tv (they have a limited over-the-air deal), so I'll get enough of a fix. I still have internet costs, but $50 (or whatever) beats the nearly $200 bill I had before.


Same here. I miss the sports a bit - mostly because my Royals are blacked out on MLBtv (I can view highlights on my phone during the game, and watch the entire game 3 hours later, but its not quite the same). I will probably watch a lot of Nats and Tigers games this year.

I thought March Madness would be an issue, but some glitch allowed me to watch all the games online for free even though you're supposed to put in a cable subscription number. I thought I would miss ESPN and I don't at all.

Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon have more than enough content to tide me over. All I need now is Roku to have a Youtube channel (I can still access Youtube channels on my PS3).
   8. depletion Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:56 AM (#4396597)
I never have had the cord hooked up, so I am not an authority in the field. The youngish (late 20's) guys I've worked with seem much more likely to want to go to a baseball game (Nats or O's)than watch it on TV. For most people, 3 hours is a long time to break out.
By having not paid one cent for TV since 1985 (roommate's cable) I've probably saved enough money for a Pepsi.
On opening day next year, the Dodgers' local TV contract will pay for their entire $200 million-plus roster — the highest in baseball — before they sell a single ticket, hot pretzel or warm Pepsi

All I wanted was a Pepsi. And she wouldn't give it to me.
   9. DL from MN Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4396600)
I just did the same with Dish after their most recent $10 price hike. Over the air and Netflix has been better, especially since the NCAA basketball tournament was available online for free. I'll be purchasing MLB.tv soon. My only complaint is my pipe isn't big enough to stream TV two places at once so my oldest has to play videogames or watch a DVD while I'm streaming TV.
   10. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:57 AM (#4396601)
On opening day next year, the Dodgers' local TV contract will pay for their entire $200 million-plus roster — the highest in baseball — before they sell a single ticket, hot pretzel or warm Pepsi


I don't know if it's still true but about a decade ago I remember reading that the NFL would turn a profit if no one ever set for in their stadiums.
   11. McCoy Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:58 AM (#4396603)
The best years of my life happened when I didn't have any cable or internet bills and had no TV. I lived 4 years without a bill or TV and didn't miss a thing. Of course I was taking my neighbors' bandwidth all the while but whatever. Last year when I moved into my new place I bought a TV and so now I have a cable/internet bill. I think it is like $110 or so a month and I barely ever watch live TV. I'm so used to watching TV on the internet that I hate watching TV on the TV. All the commercials and having to watch it at certains times of the day and on certain days is a huge turn off for me and even though I have a DVR I don't really like how that functions. Having to fast forward through the commercials is a annoying and having to manually program the DVR start a little earlier and end a little later is stupid.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:59 AM (#4396606)
So is there any reason other than lobbying by the cable companies for MLB.tv blackouts? I mean, if I'm watching on MLB.tv and the commercials are still being shown between innings what difference is there if I'm watching them by tuning to channel 576 on my cable box or if I'm watching them by pushing a button that says "Yankees at Red Sox VIDEO" on my computer?
   13. DL from MN Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:00 AM (#4396607)
The other thought I've had is getting a gym membership just to go down and watch the game while I walk on the treadmill. The price of a gym membership is less than the price of cable.
   14. JJ1986 Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:03 AM (#4396613)
Is there anyway to get MLB Network without a cable (or satellite) subscription?
   15. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:04 AM (#4396614)

So is there any reason other than lobbying by the cable companies for MLB.tv blackouts? I mean, if I'm watching on MLB.tv and the commercials are still being shown between innings what difference is there if I'm watching them by tuning to channel 576 on my cable box or if I'm watching them by pushing a button that says "Yankees at Red Sox VIDEO" on my computer?


MLB makes infinitely more money from its cable partners than it does from MLBtv.
   16. Drexl Spivey Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:10 AM (#4396619)
   17. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:28 AM (#4396629)
@RoyalsRetro - Roku does indeed have a replacement YouTube channel, but it's named something counter-intuitive so you have to search for it. I'm traveling right now and don't recall it, but there is a site that lists just about every public and private app for the Roku so that would be a good place to start your search.

I opted for Amazon Prime's 30 day free trial (after incessant offers when I buy something there) and found that most of the shows that I wanted to watch would still cost me $2 a shot anyway, so I'm letting it expire as of today.

I think the biggest win for me with MLB.tv on Roku is that you can select the radio play-by-play broadcast of the game. In previous seasons I would use a complicated setup of streaming the game on my laptop while watching the game and running that through a utility called RadioDelay and then the VolumeLogic plug-in for WinAmp to pump up the volume. It worked to a point, but required constant attention to keep the radio in sync with the TV image. I'm hoping MLB.tv will do all that work for me and I can get the best of both worlds. I can't wait!
   18. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:35 AM (#4396637)
I have cable for the NFL, college football and ESPN. I occasionally watch something else but the pickings on basic cable are pretty slim. I would like to be able to watch Game of Thrones without waiting an entire year but that means adding a premium package on top of that.
   19. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:36 AM (#4396639)
[4] I did that the first season, when nobody had the Nats' cable network.

I'm older (much older) and have less energy (much less) to go hunting around the virus-filled underbelly of Teh Internets to find a way to route my laptop through North Korea when I can listen to them on the radio and laugh at the Yankees on the tv in the background.


Is it safe to jailbreak my phone or should I stay hidden under my bed?
   20. Chris Needham Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:39 AM (#4396643)
[19] Careful. They -- and you know who "they" are -- are already onto you.
   21. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:50 AM (#4396656)

@RoyalsRetro - Roku does indeed have a replacement YouTube channel, but it's named something counter-intuitive so you have to search for it. I'm traveling right now and don't recall it, but there is a site that lists just about every public and private app for the Roku so that would be a good place to start your search


I know you can run it through your laptop on PLEX, but the quality is crappy IMO and its just kind of a pain that its not worth running to my TV.


I opted for Amazon Prime's 30 day free trial (after incessant offers when I buy something there) and found that most of the shows that I wanted to watch would still cost me $2 a shot anyway, so I'm letting it expire as of today.


I've considered a subscription to Amazon Prime. I ended up buying the entire season of Mad Men without a subscription and I'd probably be interested in other shows as well. Don't you get free shipping out of it too? My wife buys a crapload of stuff off Amazon so its seems like it might be worth it.

I would like to be able to watch Game of Thrones without waiting an entire year but that means adding a premium package on top of that.


I think Game of Thrones Season 2 has been on Amazon for awhile. You have to pay for it of course. There is a rumor that HBO is considering making HBO GO a stand-alone subscription model (right now you have to have an HBO subscription). That would be quite awesome.
   22. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4396658)
OT note, in light of post 20: I listened to the 'Welcome To Night Vale' podcast after its AV Club mention on Friday and have already worked through the whole set; obviously, recommended.

Getting a Kindle Fire today and, with it, Amazon Prime (idea is that I'll cut cable and rely on Amazon's library and other stuff). Yes, free 2 day shipping.
   23. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:51 AM (#4396660)
I find the cost of highspeed internet much more offensive than DirectTv.

With Direct TV I'm paying for a delivery mechanism and lots of content. With FioS I'm paying nearly as much for a pipe.

But, in the grand scheme of things, I pay ~$200 a month for Phone, DirectTV and Internet. That's not that bad.

Now, cellphones, that's a huge ripoff. You can't get a package with as little usage as I want. So, I end up paying $50 a month for 15 minutes of talk, and 2 hours of web use. If people weren't used to my number, I'd drop my cellphone and just use my work blackberry.
   24. Chris Needham Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4396662)
I'm a heavy Amazon Prime user -- owing to not wanting to schlep out to get diapers... so the streaming is a nice added bonus. I don't watch a lot of 'premium' tv, so paying per episode is actually quite nice, once you get past the idea of laying out $2-3 for a single episode. But if you add it up, you could buy a whole season of a few shows for less than the price you were paying for cable. You're either paying directly specifically for the content you want, or you're paying cable to be a middle man.
   25. John Northey Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:55 AM (#4396663)
MLB is actually ahead of the curve with the danger of the cable companies bubble bursting thanks to mlb.tv Should a teams cash flow from regular/cable tv drop too much they could switch to pure mlb.tv revenue I'd bet. I'm sure Bud would love to try it out but doesn't have a candidate at the moment - namely a team with no cable deal or such a poor one that you might as well tell them games will be live on mlb.tv. It'd be interesting to see how high the revenue could be. $25 a month right now or $129 a year - get 1 million subscribers and you'd have $129 million, less than what they get from cable in major centers it seems, but still lots of cash and that is before factoring in ad revenue.
   26. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:58 AM (#4396666)

I've considered a subscription to Amazon Prime. I ended up buying the entire season of Mad Men without a subscription and I'd probably be interested in other shows as well. Don't you get free shipping out of it too? My wife buys a crapload of stuff off Amazon so its seems like it might be worth it.


I've got Amazon Prime and even if I never use it for the streaming it's worth it for the shipping. Free second day shipping on most items (not everything is "Prime eligible", watch that) and you can usually do next day shipping for $3.99. Last year I bought a 47" TV about 3 in the afternoon on Friday. For $8.99 it was at my house Saturday morning by 10AM.

As for the streaming it works well though most newer shows require that you buy them.
   27. Der-K, the bloodied charmer Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:00 AM (#4396671)
Now, cellphones, that's a huge ripoff. You can't get a package with as little usage as I want.

Why not use PAYG?
   28. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:01 AM (#4396672)
I'm a heavy Amazon Prime user -- owing to not wanting to schlep out to get diapers


I started to type "TMI" ... but, y'know, whatever turns you on, man.
   29. rb's team is hopeful for the new year! Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:02 AM (#4396673)
The people who are most screwed by this are the fans who actually live in their team's area. Those are the fans for whom MLBtv is not an option, and free local on-air broadcasts have died.

   30. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:07 AM (#4396678)
Is it safe to jailbreak my phone or should I stay hidden under my bed?

You're under arrest.
   31. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:16 AM (#4396694)
Now, cellphones, that's a huge ripoff. You can't get a package with as little usage as I want.


Obviously YMMV but I find it much easier to get a mobile phone package that approximates my usage patterns than to get a similarly-appropriate cable TV package. Somehow I'm paying for 30 Spanish language stations, and none of them are a 24-hour Lucha Libre channel so they're of no use to me. Of the several hundred stations I'm subsidizing how many would I actually watch in an a la carte model?

MLB
AMC
Comedy Central
Cartoon Network
AXS TV (for MMA)
Spike TV (for MMA)
FX (for MMA)
Fuel TV (for MMA)
Food Network
HGTV
IFC
Travel Channel

Maybe I'm missing a few for my wife's benefit, but the final talley would be 20 or below I'm sure (not including the broadcast networks). Instead I have well over 300.
   32. Chris Needham Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:21 AM (#4396701)
[28] Don't knock it 'til you try it! ::releases::
   33. Joey B. is being stalked by a (Gonfa) loon Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:28 AM (#4396714)
It sure will be nice when the Nationals are finally free of the Evil One in Baltimore and can finally reap their rightful share of the modern media windfall.
   34. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4396716)
Obviously YMMV but I find it much easier to get a mobile phone package that approximates my usage patterns than to get a similarly-appropriate cable TV package. Somehow I'm paying for 30 Spanish language stations, and none of them are a 24-hour Lucha Libre channel so they're of no use to me. Of the several hundred stations I'm subsidizing how many would I actually watch in an a la carte model?

MLB
AMC
Comedy Central
Cartoon Network
AXS TV (for MMA)
Spike TV (for MMA)
FX (for MMA)
Fuel TV (for MMA)
Food Network
HGTV
IFC
Travel Channel

Maybe I'm missing a few for my wife's benefit, but the final talley would be 20 or below I'm sure (not including the broadcast networks). Instead I have well over 300.


Not only that, but some of the channels you enjoy, are only for one show. So that one hour of TV you're watching on Fuel TV is subsidizing the other 23 hours of crap they put on.
   35. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:30 AM (#4396717)
Now, cellphones, that's a huge ripoff. You can't get a package with as little usage as I want. So, I end up paying $50 a month for 15 minutes of talk, and 2 hours of web use. If people weren't used to my number, I'd drop my cellphone and just use my work blackberry.


I pay $60 per month (after the taxes and fees) for a plan that's 300 minutes, 400 texts, and 2 gigs of data (the data plan is $20 of the price). The minutes and texts are way over anything I actually use in a month. I'm tied to T-Mobile because that's an old plan I've had since 2008 and you can't get an individual plan that small (or cheap) anywhere these days and changing carriers would mean giving that up and having to pay more.
   36. Moeball Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4396718)
Unfortunately, I'm hooked on BBC America. I can waste enough time with that!

As to the baseball TV $, here in San Diego we have the hilarious situation of Fox owning the rights to Padres games - Cox Cable has ponied up the fees to purchase from Fox so the Cox subscribers can get Padres games. Time Warner Cable, on the other hand, refuses to pay the exorbitant fee Fox is charging and hasn't shown any Padres games in over a year. City council keeps holding meetings about this but no progress ever seems to get made. The funniest part about this is Time Warner is basically saying they won't pay a premium fee for an inferior product - they are pretty much calling out the Padres as not being worth watching so why pay the fee? Unfortunately, they are almost 100% accurate on that. I was a Padres season ticket holder for over a decade (1998 to 2009) but let my tickets go and haven't looked back since. I save a couple thousand a year and I now only go to a handful of games if they're ones I really want to see. They are pretty much a franchise without direction that is perpetually in "rebuilding" mode, run almost as badly as the Royals, who we were dissecting in another thread.
   37. DL from MN Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:33 AM (#4396722)
I am a Twins fan and live in the area. For this season I'm perfectly fine with seeing the delayed games. My daughter is the other big Twins fan in the house and she can't stay up late enough to watch the whole game anyway. This way we can watch the archived games together. I think I'll watch the Nationals in real-time this season after her bedtime.

My dish/internet/phone cost went from $172/month down to $115 and I'm enjoying my TV more now with Netflix than I did with Dish. That savings more than paid for the Roku and an antenna already. It will pay for MLB.tv and then some over the summer. My kids are happier with this arrangement too.

You can't get a package with as little usage as I want.


I bought a cellphone and 1200 minutes plus triple minutes forever for $100 last June. I still have 636 minutes left.
   38. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:36 AM (#4396727)
I bought a cell phone for work that was a pay as you go phone through Verizon that was $1 for every day you used it. I almost never got calls on it, so it cost me like $10 a month. There was no data usage though.
   39. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4396737)
Not only that, but some of the channels you enjoy, are only for one show. So that one hour of TV you're watching on Fuel TV is subsidizing the other 23 hours of crap they put on.


Yeah but at least I get *something* I want out of the arrangement. One or two hours of UFC prelim fights once or twice a month is worth infinitely more to me than the Golf Channel, MTV, BET, or that weird catholic channel that always seems have have a nun reading her bible on it.
   40. Chris Needham Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:43 AM (#4396739)
I'd bet that within five years, you'll be able to buy your way out of the blackout. I'd pay an extra $50 or so to get the Nats games live.

Don't the Yankees have a limited exception for this? Doesn't one of the cable companies in NYC allow they to purchase YES broadcasts over the internet? Anyone have details... price, etc?
   41. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:49 AM (#4396746)
I'm lucky in that I have a buddy who lent me an extra satellite dish and receiver he had, and we split one bill four ways with two other members of his family (illegally - sue me). So I get all the Sportsnent channels, which carry at least 140 Jays games, plus all of the Movie Network channels, HBO, etc, for $25/mo. If the situation ever changes I'll just listen to them on the radio, I'm not paying $100/mo for TV.
   42. DKDC Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4396751)
I guess I'm in the minority here - just last week I tried to upgrade my Verizon FiOS package so I could get mlb.tv.

First I tuned to the channel on my tv and clicked the button to add the channel. Error message, please call.

OK, so I logged on to my account on their website (after resetting my password - who remembers their login and password for every one of these sites you use maybe once a year?).

I figure out the package I need on the website and I'm ready to confirm, but it says I need to agree to a two year contract to change my channel package. that can't be right, so I give up and call the customer service number.

After 20 minutes wading through menus and hold music, I get a live person on the other end. After some communication issues, we finally figure out what we need to do and it doesn't seem like I need to sign a contract. Whew, almost there. But wait, I'm sorry sir there is a credit hold on your account due to past due amounts, so we can't do anything, and you need to call this other number. Hmm that can't be the case, I'm on autopay, and I'm looking at my statement right here and it cleared just last week. I'm sorry sir, please call this other number.

Needless to say, I hung up and did not call that other number. A business that can't take more money from a customer who spends and hour trying to give it to them is a failing business in my view, notwithstanding all the other forces at work here.
   43. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 26, 2013 at 11:53 AM (#4396752)
One or two hours of UFC prelim fights once or twice a month is worth infinitely more to me than the Golf Channel, MTV, BET, or that weird catholic channel that always seems have have a nun reading her bible on it.

The weirdest channel on television--besides Fox News, of course!--is this channel called MNN in New York on Time Warner. It's like a 24 hour long hallucination. I'm ok with paying for that.
   44. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:00 PM (#4396760)
The weirdest channel on television--besides Fox News, of course!--is this channel called MNN in New York on Time Warner. It's like a 24 hour long hallucination. I'm ok with paying for that.


I just got a job offer in Albany yesterday, so I'll be sure to look for this if I accept :)
   45. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:04 PM (#4396767)
none of them are a 24-hour Lucha Libre channel


Why isn't this a thing? I would watch the #### out of that. Particularly if they had El Santo movie marathons.
   46. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:05 PM (#4396771)
I'm paying for 30 Spanish language stations, and none of them are a 24-hour Lucha Libre channel so they're of no use to me.

I would SO plunk down the cash for a 24-hour channel of La Parka's greatest ring entrances.
   47. zack Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4396777)
The weirdest channel on television--besides Fox News, of course!--is this channel called MNN in New York on Time Warner.

Channel? Channels. I get four of them. And I think they're rather more crack-fueled then acid-fueled.
   48. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:10 PM (#4396778)
I would SO plunk down the cash for a 24-hour channel of La Parka's greatest ring entrances.


I assume there would be an adjacent channel for Super Porky's dancing?
   49. Shooty Survived the Shutdown of '14! Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:14 PM (#4396781)
Channel? Channels. I get four of them. And I think they're rather more crack-fueled then acid-fueled.

They are truly weird. Some of the stuff looks like it was filmed in 1983 at an insane asylum as some kind of misguided therapy. I've seen videos that are as dreamlike as anything I've ever seen on video.
   50. Fernigal McGunnigle has become a merry hat Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4396786)
The other thought I've had is getting a gym membership just to go down and watch the game while I walk on the treadmill. The price of a gym membership is less than the price of cable.


I don't have a TV, and in years past I tried the treadmill-baseball thing. The big problem is that three hours is a long ass time to walk on a treadmill, so you're not going to be watching a lot of full games. The other problem is that weeknight games start at 7:10 and run until 10 pm, and if you're if you're actually moving at a decent pace and not just ambling then you're going to want to take a shower afterwards. All of a sudden you're out pretty late just so you can watch TV without paying for cable or MLB.tv.

(I go to the gym before work, and that's really great for watching the first week of the French Open and Wimbledon. Otherwise it's usually just an archived MLB games on my phone.)
   51. KT's Pot Arb Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:35 PM (#4396805)
I dumped cable/local phone a couple years ago for AppleTV and don't miss it. We watch less TV, read more, normally watch Netflix when we do watch or buy/rent movies and shows off iTunes, no commercials means we get to finish shows faster or watch more, depending upon the evening.

I tried Hulu, but ads drove me nuts. I rarely watch over air programming except SuperBowl, my kids were amazed by commercials since it had been so long they forgot what they were.

Right now we spend about $40 a month on Tosh/The Soup/Archer so its a bit less than the $60+ we used to pay cable (netflix and pay movie costs the sane) And when Tosh/Archer finish the season we will be down to maybe $10 per month for paid shows. The truth is I would happily pay more for no schedules, and no commercials.

But I have no easy way to watch any team other than Kirk Gibsons Gritty Band Of Traveling Dirthounds over local broadcast, and so I gradually watch less baseball and have less interest in going to games each year. I probably should subscribe to MlbTV, but work is a bear now and no one else in family is going to appreciate if.

Oh, and cell phone plans are extremely cheap and flexible if you don't have the cost of a $600 phone in a 2 year contract from your carrier. Buy your phone or keep it after contract expires and you should be able to save lots on your monthly plan.
   52. DL from MN Posted: March 26, 2013 at 12:44 PM (#4396814)
Yeah, the gym membership works best if there is a sitting area with a TV too. Lots of country clubs have these but they cost more than cable.
   53. dr. scott Posted: March 26, 2013 at 01:40 PM (#4396859)
been thinking a lot about this lately, but our downstairs neighbor just signed on with our Cable plan, as technically his studio is part of our unit, so the cable company was find with it. that cut the bill in half. Basically the only reason we got cable was for the cycling races, as its impossible to get those in a bar, and without commentary, its hard to follow the action, and fast forwarding is essential, and the streaming sites are such bad picture quality. We watch a few baseball games at home, but mostly at the bar down the street until football season starts. But now the wife is hooked on all the showtime and HBO series, and will likely not want to wait for them to come on Netflicks or Amazon, so we may be stuck with this for awhile, and with the bill cut in half the pain has gone down significantly.

Does anyone do slingbox? One thing I would really like to do is watch the game from the first fricking inning, instead of 3-4 innings in when I get off the train. Im worried though that the 2gig plan on my ipad would quickly run out if I was streaming stuff on the train all the time.
   54. BDC Posted: March 26, 2013 at 03:15 PM (#4396956)
I'd thought I was in the minority by having no cable TV, but it looks like a gradually unraveling industry. I've replaced cable mostly by watching no TV at all, except for DVDs of old seasons of CSI on my laptop. For sports, I do have broadcast TV and watched the Michigan State- Memphis game on CBS last weekend. If something's not on broadcast, I just do without it. Baseball is only on broadcast on Friday nights in DFW, when I'm usually doing something else. I haven't watched baseball broadcasts except for the World Series in years, anyway. With the money I save on cable, I go to games in person instead.
   55. this space for rent Posted: March 26, 2013 at 04:27 PM (#4397030)
There is a rumor that HBO is considering making HBO GO a stand-alone subscription model (right now you have to have an HBO subscription). That would be quite awesome.


HBO doing this would quite possibly break cable in a very good way, which is why the cable companies will do everything in their power to prevent it from happening.
   56. kthejoker Posted: March 26, 2013 at 05:08 PM (#4397086)
Good thing HBO isn't in the pocket of a large cable company ....
   57. spycake Posted: March 26, 2013 at 09:53 PM (#4397225)
Does anyone do slingbox? One thing I would really like to do is watch the game from the first fricking inning, instead of 3-4 innings in when I get off the train. Im worried though that the 2gig plan on my ipad would quickly run out if I was streaming stuff on the train all the time.

In my experience, Slingbox requires a lot of upload bandwidth, which not all home internet connections have. And then it requires a decent amount of download bandwidth too if you want decent quality.
   58. Shibal Posted: March 26, 2013 at 10:26 PM (#4397236)
For everyone who is complaining about MLB.tv blackouts, just get a VPN proxy for about $5 a month.

Poof, no more blackouts. You can pretend to be from anywhere in the world with a good proxy.

   59. Jim Wisinski Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:11 AM (#4397352)
Does anyone do slingbox? One thing I would really like to do is watch the game from the first fricking inning, instead of 3-4 innings in when I get off the train. Im worried though that the 2gig plan on my ipad would quickly run out if I was streaming stuff on the train all the time.


2 gigs per month definitely wouldn't be sufficient for that. Verizon's estimator says that streaming video at 3G speeds uses 250 MB/hour.

Miami's Metrorail has free WiFi on all their trains (I think on the bus system too) though from my experience using it while down there I don't think it would be sufficient for watching live video. The connection was spotty at times and generally not all that fast.
   60. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:14 AM (#4397361)

For everyone who is complaining about MLB.tv blackouts, just get a VPN proxy for about $5 a month.

Poof, no more blackouts. You can pretend to be from anywhere in the world with a good proxy.


I imagine this would require me to know something about computers, so that option is out.
   61. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 27, 2013 at 12:20 AM (#4397364)
If it wasn't for sports (baseball, hockey, occasional Sunday round of a golf major, early rounds of March Madness, an NFL game or three), I would have ditched cable and gone with torrents a long time ago. I already watch 3 shows by torrent only (for HD access), and the other weekly ones I'd have no problem moving to torrent (as we watch on the PVR the next day/weekend most of the time).

My wife, however, would be difficult to break from cable. I'd have to set up a pretty easy search/download/transfer/watch system for her shows, and I won't have time to do that any time soon...
   62. Greg K Posted: March 27, 2013 at 06:06 AM (#4397427)
There is a rumor that HBO is considering making HBO GO a stand-alone subscription model (right now you have to have an HBO subscription). That would be quite awesome.

I may be misunderstanding the point, but Sky does this with their Sky Go package here in the UK. I have an account that I activate in March and then suspend in June. So it works out that I pay £5 a month to watch Game of Thrones. That is the only TV I subscribe to all year.
   63. Dan Evensen Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:03 AM (#4397442)
I thought that I'd discover somewhere that the average length of a regular season game has increased a lot since 1973. Guess what??It hasn't. A quick glance at the graph and details will tell you that there's been a slow and steady increase over the 40 year period, though it hasn't been much more than 20 minutes.

Anyway, I'm apparently of a dying breed. I'm 28 years old and I love baseball. I can't stand watching American football anymore.

We hardly count, since we live in China and get our heavily-censored cable television for free. However, I've never paid for cable or satellite in my life. I don't plan on paying for it, either. MLB.tv is an excellent value for the money.

Honestly, though, I find myself listening to radio broadcasts more than watching games on TV. I'm not sure if there are others like me. I find that baseball's pace is much better suited to the radio, and I like being able to do other things while listening.

By the way, I also don't own a smartphone, nor will I ever buy one. I worked at a call center for a major cell phone provider a few years back, and seeing first-hand the billing procedures and marketing strategies has turned me off for good.
   64. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:46 AM (#4397448)
Dan, I'm with you on radio. Summer evenings are great when I can tinker in the garden or walk the dogs while listening to the broadcast.
   65. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 27, 2013 at 08:58 AM (#4397454)
By the way, I also don't own a smartphone, nor will I ever buy one. I worked at a call center for a major cell phone provider a few years back, and seeing first-hand the billing procedures and marketing strategies has turned me off for good.

Dan, what specifically turned you off? Is it the two-year contract? I ask because I am thinking about purchasing an unlocked iPhone from an Apple Store and then going month-to-month with T-Mobile.
   66. DL from MN Posted: March 27, 2013 at 09:41 AM (#4397483)
I like listening to the radio feed and having the video available for when the ball is in play. Best of both worlds.

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