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Cord cutters dilema 2021


So I hate to be this guy every year, but once again the MLB makes it a huge pain to watch the Twins if you're in a blackout market. In 2019 I was able to watch the Twins on FSN on YoutubeTV, then FSN got dropped from youtube TV. In 2020 I switched to Hulu, but now Hulu/Sinclair has dropped FSN. 

 

So going into the 2021 season with FSN being renamed Bally Sports North, does anyone know of a service where I can stream this channel? Or has anyone heard any updates about a streaming giant picking it up now that they're partnered with Bally? 

 

I feel like my only option at this point is MLB.tv and a VPN which also means that I'll have to connect to my TV via airplay. 

 

Anyone have any thoughts? 

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I'm not officially recommending this, but there are free services all over the internet that will allow you to watch MLB games for free. While I personally use MLB.TV (as an out-of-market resident splitting time between Guatemala and Florida I have no issues watching Twins games), I can confirm that other methods are available. I'm not trying to be too cryptic here and I certainly don't want to make these other options sound scary - they're not. And you probably know about them. My main issue is the quality seems to suffer.

 

I think your option of MLB.TV with a VPN may be your best bet, otherwise.

 

I read that the ATT "TV" option is $84.99 per month if you want to include Bally Sports North as a streaming option.

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I read that Balley Sports will have a Direct to Consumer option beginning in 2022. I don’t know if that means they’re giving up negotiating with YouTube TV/Hulu/Sling/etc. this year. I’m not optimistic they’ll figure it out, given that basketball and hockey seasons are well under way.

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I suggest comparing Hulu/YTTV/etc prices to cable prices. They’re no longer the deal they used to be. Plus with cable, you don’t have fluctuating streaming quality. 

That's true, though with yttv and hulu tv, you can pay for the months you use, and cancel after the baseball season. With cable you have a 1 yr contract, plus start up fees. I've never had issues with streaming quality on yttv. Satellite TV, on the other hand...

 

Going to do mlb with a vpn this year.

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That's true, though with yttv and hulu tv, you can pay for the months you use, and cancel after the baseball season. With cable you have a 1 yr contract, plus start up fees. I've never had issues with streaming quality on yttv. Satellite TV, on the other hand...

 

Going to do mlb with a vpn this year.

 

Yep. Flexibility is a key reason why I still stream and refuse to go back to cable. In past years I would sign up around March/April to get MLB Network, ESPN, etc. to watch baseball and continue through the fall for football season. Then cut it in the winter. For me, it's mostly about not wanting to give awful companies like AT&T and Spectrum more money than I have to. Nothing would make me happier than cutting them entirely out of my expenses for internet and TV. 

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It's so interesting that the MLB is following the Brooklyn-Underground-Hipster-Bar model. Impossible to find and if you do, it's even harder to get in. Really seems like a solid business model for reaching as many viewers as possible.

To be fair, it's not really MLB causing this current issue. Fox had broadcast rights, and then sold them to Sinclair, and now Sinclair has failed to keep them on most streaming services. I'm guessing MLB isn't exactly thrilled with Sinclair right now either, if only due to the negative PR.

 

(There's also the annual complaint about MLB.TV's blackout rules, but I think that's a separate issue -- and one that isn't unique to MLB either.)

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I suggest comparing Hulu/YTTV/etc prices to cable prices. They’re no longer the deal they used to be. Plus with cable, you don’t have fluctuating streaming quality. 

The AT&T TV Choice package (the cheapest streaming package that includes FSN right now) is currently $85/month. That's high, but keep in mind, there is no contract so you can cancel anytime, and no fees beyond that $85 each month.

 

For comparison, I just went to the Xfinity website, where they advertised an $80/month TV/internet combo. Sounds good, BUT in the fine print:

 

Broadcast TV Fee (up to $19.45/mo.), Regional Sports Fee (up to $14.45/mo.) and other applicable charges extra

 

Plus they require you to pay $5/month for a cable box (or $15 if you want DVR, which AT&T TV already includes), so that's $119-129. On the internet side, it's only 200 Mbps (one of their lower speed tiers) and adds $14-25/month for modem rental if you don't buy your own. All of this is on a 1-year contract, so you can't cancel whenever you want -- and the price jumps another $20 after 1 year too.

 

Obviously this will all vary by one's local cable/internet providers, but odds are, the cable package will be no better on price than internet + AT&T TV, and far less flexible.

 

(Of course, an even better deal is internet + radio :) )

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Yep. Flexibility is a key reason why I still stream and refuse to go back to cable. In past years I would sign up around March/April to get MLB Network, ESPN, etc. to watch baseball and continue through the fall for football season. Then cut it in the winter. For me, it's mostly about not wanting to give awful companies like AT&T and Spectrum more money than I have to. Nothing would make me happier than cutting them entirely out of my expenses for internet and TV. 

This is exactly what I've done the past couple of seasons.

 

This season I'm being forced to use MLB.tv plus a less than legal VPN routing option. They've left me no choice, really. I'd prefer to give them money to watch the Twins but I'm not going back to a $1200/yr cable package to watch baseball and ONLY baseball. It's literally the only thing I watch on the service.

 

Good job all around, everyone involved. You've made this so difficult and irritating that instead of getting $500+, you'll get zero dollars and a lot of animosity from me.

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Yep. Flexibility is a key reason why I still stream and refuse to go back to cable. In past years I would sign up around March/April to get MLB Network, ESPN, etc. to watch baseball and continue through the fall for football season. Then cut it in the winter. For me, it's mostly about not wanting to give awful companies like AT&T and Spectrum more money than I have to. Nothing would make me happier than cutting them entirely out of my expenses for internet and TV. 

I wouldn’t say Google and Disney are much better companies. But good point on flexibility. I thought most cable companies had gotten rid of contracts. 

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This season I'm being forced to use MLB.tv plus a less than legal VPN routing option. They've left me no choice, really. I'd prefer to give them money to watch the Twins but I'm not going back to a $1200/yr cable package to watch baseball and ONLY baseball. It's literally the only thing I watch on the service.

 

Good job all around, everyone involved. You've made this so difficult and irritating that instead of getting $500+, you'll get zero dollars and a lot of animosity from me.

AT&T TV would be $510 for the regular season (6 months at $85/month).

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Yeah, but with all these options that don't include MLB Network, how do you spend your winters when you can't watch that stupid movie where Bernie Mac makes a comeback to try to get his 3,000th hit? 

 

97 times. 

 

Each month...

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I suggest comparing Hulu/YTTV/etc prices to cable prices. They’re no longer the deal they used to be. Plus with cable, you don’t have fluctuating streaming quality. 

No, you get fluctuating broadcast quality instead.

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As Amesfan said, here in central IA (Des Moines for me) you can't even get FSN North on cable packages, or if it does happen to be available, its only in the Super Max Uber Sports Pack Deluxe+ that costs an extra $150 a month, on top of the normal $150 cable package. Yet, we're still in the MLB.TV blackout area for the Twins and five other teams (cuz MLB apparently doesn't want people in Iowa to watch any baseball).  So we're literally left with no legal options here.  It's pirate streams, VPN to hide location, or signing into FSGo with a family/friend's account who lives somewhere that can get FSN North with their cable.

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As Amesfan said, here in central IA (Des Moines for me) you can't even get FSN North on cable packages, or if it does happen to be available, its only in the Super Max Uber Sports Pack Deluxe+ that costs an extra $150 a month, on top of the normal $150 cable package. Yet, we're still in the MLB.TV blackout area for the Twins and five other teams (cuz MLB apparently doesn't want people in Iowa to watch any baseball).  So we're literally left with no legal options here.

I sympathize with Iowa fans more than those in Minnesota, but you "literally" just described a legal option available to you in your own post! :)

 

FWIW, satellite TV is usually the best option for sports fans in Iowa. Looks like DirecTV with the Sports Pack to get FSN would average around $98 per month on 2-year contract (about $79/month the first year, then $116/month the 2nd year).

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I sympathize with Iowa fans more than those in Minnesota, but you "literally" just described a legal option available to you in your own post! :)

 

FWIW, satellite TV is usually the best option for sports fans in Iowa. Looks like DirecTV with the Sports Pack to get FSN would average around $98 per month on 2-year contract (about $79/month the first year, then $116/month the 2nd year).

Ah, you're one of those that always takes "literally" literally, instead of the commonly accepted usage for the past couple hundred years of using "literally" figuratively for emphasis, which I was obviously doing since, as you pointed out, I had just described an option. But, I digress...

 

Using DirectTV's RSN search by zip code tool, it says to get FSNorth in my zip code I have to get the Premier package, which requires a two-year commitment, starts at $135/month for first year, then goes up in the second, but doesn't say what to, but I'd guess $20 or $30 a month more. That means over the two year contract, let's say an average $150 per month. But, don't forget the $10 per month RSN fee, installation, taxes, fees, and equipment rental. All told, probably looking at $200+ per month for two years, which is closing in on $5,000 total at that point. So, is there literally an option, yes, but is there a realistic/sane option, no. Whereas, if MLB didn't have asinine blackout restrictions on MLB.TV, I could subscribe to that for two years for less than $250.

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Ah, you're one of those that always takes "literally" literally, instead of the commonly accepted usage for the past couple hundred years of using "literally" figuratively for emphasis, which I was obviously doing since, as you pointed out, I had just described an option. But, I digress...

And you're one of those that doesn't recognize the meaning of a smiley emoji? :)

 

 

Using DirectTV's RSN search by zip code tool, it says to get FSNorth in my zip code I have to get the Premier package, which requires a two-year commitment, starts at $135/month for first year, then goes up in the second, but doesn't say what to, but I'd guess $20 or $30 a month more. That means over the two year contract, let's say an average $150 per month. But, don't forget the $10 per month RSN fee, installation, taxes, fees, and equipment rental. All told, probably looking at $200+ per month for two years, which is closing in on $5,000 total at that point. So, is there literally an option, yes, but is there a realistic/sane option, no.

It's confusing for sure, but I think that search tool you reference is only searching the channels offered in each base package. To get FSN in a base package in Iowa would indeed be expensive (as most Iowa base packages just have FS Midwest).

 

But, they also offer FSN in a "Sports Pack" for $14/month, and they say "You can add Sports Packages separately to any base programming package":

 

https://www.directv.com/sports/sports_pack

 

I went into their checkout process to get the numbers in my previous post, and installation, equipment, and fees were all included in the numbers I quoted.

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Whereas, if MLB didn't have asinine blackout restrictions on MLB.TV, I could subscribe to that for two years for less than $250.

MLB.TV is an out-of-market viewing product, and is priced accordingly. It doesn't make sense to compare that price point to in-market offerings. Granted, there is an argument that Iowa shouldn't be in-market for the Twins, although at the same time, there does seem to be a fair number of Twins fans there! So I wouldn't expect Twins broadcasts to be sold as cheaply in Iowa as in, say, New Mexico, although I agree it would be nice to get them cheaper than they currently are.

 

For a little while, a couple years ago, Iowa actually had an advantage because a few streaming providers (YouTube TV, and before that, Playstation TV) gave you all of the overlapping RSNs. So for the same monthly cost as fans in Minnesota paid to just get FSN, Iowa fans could get FSN, FS Midwest, FS Wisconsin, and the Chicago channels. It actually made sense given the MLB.TV blackouts, and if not for Sinclair, it might still be in effect. Hopefully we'll get back to that someday, or maybe Sinclair will come up with a good direct offering in 2022.

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Without reading through everything again, what options have we come up with for Twin Cities residents with no cable? 

 

Sounds like FSN is not a channel you get with Hulu, YouTube tv, etc. I'm not signing up for a contract or probably even paying more than those services cost, since it would only be for baseball(and NHL playoffs when they start)

 

Am I back to just following the team in the boxscores and reading about what happens on this site? Thats pretty much what I did for years when living somewhat off the grid out of state. Bummer that that's what following baseball is to me now. 

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Without reading through everything again, what options have we come up with for Twin Cities residents with no cable? 

 

Sounds like FSN is not a channel you get with Hulu, YouTube tv, etc. I'm not signing up for a contract or probably even paying more than those services cost, since it would only be for baseball(and NHL playoffs when they start)

 

Am I back to just following the team in the boxscores and reading about what happens on this site? Thats pretty much what I did for years when living somewhat off the grid out of state. Bummer that that's what following baseball is to me now. 

There's always the radio. A game is usually background noise for me anyway, so there's not much of a difference.

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Without reading through everything again, what options have we come up with for Twin Cities residents with no cable? 

AT&T TV still includes FSN. A little pricey compared to the other streaming services ($85), but it's month-to-month with no contract. (AT&T TV also offer a contract option, but personally I think it is a worse deal.) Supports up to 3 streams outside your home too, if you want to get creative...

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I just switched to AT&T from Hulu and really like it. $85 is ridiculous since we primarily watch baseball and the Wild and little else. But I have nothing better to do and the $4 million I saved by not drinking beer at bars in 2020 is burning a hole in my pocket.

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