MLB.tv Decides Entire Planet Is A Blackout Area

The MLB.tv banner ads that brag, “NO BLACKOUTS!: Blackout and other restrictions apply” may be more accurate than we initially thought. Owen tells Consumerist that he was unable to watch a Cubs/Braves game, even though he was trying to watch well after the game was over, when blackouts should no longer apply.

He writes:

No one seems to have caught this story yet. Not even the 50+ tech blogs I subscribe to. Your article about Roku hinted at this issue, but didn’t cover it completely.

Opening day is an important time in the baseball season. Thousands of people logged in to try and watch their favorite teams and were faced with a message that they are living in a “blackout area.” I found this out because I received the same issue myself and spend almost 2 hours trying to fix it.

It was puzzling when I tried to watch a Cubs/Braves game that took place in Atlanta yesterday. I live in San Francisco, so I shouldn’t be blacked out of anything. Regardless, I was trying to watch the archived game after it had taken place, which should not be blacked out anywhere in the world.

If you check MLB’s support forum, there are more than a hundred comments of outraged customers facing the following issues:
1. Watching an archived game means getting a message that you are unable to because of blackout restrictions
2. If not blacked out, customers open a game and get a black, blank screen.
3. Calling customer service means (reportedly) getting no refund and being told to “keep trying.”
4. Checking the forum leads to a few comments from the moderator, drowned out by hundreds of replies from pissed off customers. The moderator suggestions do not fix the issue.’

Thus, thousands of customers are outraged that they spent $100 or more on a service that simply does not work.

Blackouts apply, to all games, home and away, in a given team’s market. Or any market in which their games might theoretically air. This is right in the service’s fine print. Being unable to access any games at all is not.