Television Broadcasting of MLB Games and Its Impact

Major League Baseball

MLB is one of the most popular professional sports leagues in the world. It has 30 teams, divided into two groups: the American League and the National League.

The games are televised by the ESPN and Fox Sports networks, as well as local broadcast stations and regional sports networks. A few national telecasts are non-exclusive, and may air in tandem with a game’s local broadcaster. mlb중계


In the United Kingdom, major league baseball began to be broadcast on television in the late 1980s. First shown on satellite channel Screensport, and then on Sky Sports, the rights were eventually taken over by terrestrial channel Channel 5 in 1997. The channel would show two MLB games per week, including Sunday Night Baseball, until it closed in 2008 following the Global Financial Crisis, and later by newly-launched cable and satellite broadcaster BT Sport in 2013 which has aired MLB ever since.

Over the years, MLB broadcasts helped shape the emerging medium of cable television, with channels such as ESPN and Fox Sports gaining prominence in the early part of the 21st Century partially on the back of their national baseball packages. In 2009, the league itself launched a dedicated baseball cable channel called The Baseball Network, although this was short-lived. Currently, most games that are not aired by national outlets such as ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and TBS are broadcast on local broadcast stations or regional sports networks, and those broadcasts are often subject to blackouts in the teams’ home markets.


In the United States, Major League Baseball has been televised since the 1950s. Originally broadcast on the experimental station W2XBS, the games would become regular attractions for ABC, CBS, and NBC before Fox rose to prominence partially due to its acquisition of MLB rights in 1996. These broadcasts helped shape the medium of cable television, allowing out-of-market fans to gain access through networks such as ESPN and TBS.

In 2009, MLB would launch its own cable network, MLB Network, which picked up game packages from its national media partners and local broadcasters. Viewers outside of a local team’s market can see games on the network but are subject to blackouts in areas where a regional broadcaster is airing a game.

The BBC has shown Major League Baseball in the UK on a weekly basis since the late 1980s, when the games were first televised on satellite channel Screensport. After Screensport closed, Sky Sports took over the rights and branded it MLB on Five until the network ended its free-to-air coverage of the game in 2008, leaving terrestrial broadcaster Channel 5 as sole rights holder.


In English-speaking countries, Major League Baseball (MLB) games are broadcast on television. MLB games are aired on a network of local and regional sports channels. MLB games are also aired nationally on ESPN, Fox Sports 1, and TBS. MLB games are also available on cable outlets such as MLB Network, which airs games in prime time on certain nights of the season and is branded as Baseball Night in America.

The governing body for MLB is the Major League Baseball Commissioner, who hires and maintains the sport’s umpires and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. The commissioner oversees the development of rules and regulations for the game, such as those regarding the length of an inning and the number of outs required to end a game. The Commissioner’s office also determines the location of MLB stadiums and approves television contracts for national telecasts of games. MLB also operates an independent television channel called The Baseball Network.


MLB games have played a large role in shaping the development of American cable television. As the sport became more and more popular in the United States, ABC, CBS, and NBC aired packages of games until Fox emerged as a major network partially on the strength of its broadcast rights.

Game telecasts have also been a driver for regional sports networks such as NBC Sports Regional Networks, and some teams own partial stakes in their regional broadcaster. These regional telecasts are subject to blackouts, with viewers outside the market receiving alternate games or programming.

In addition to traditional televised games, MLB has been a leader in live streaming and virtual telecasts of its games. Twitter and Facebook have streamed games since 2019, while YouTube and Apple TV+ have gotten into the act as well. MLB also runs its own cable channel, the MLB Network, which began operations in 2009.