MLB TV is charging a record-high $150 for a subscription to its streaming service this season, but you can pay a lot less for out-of-market baseball with a crafty workaround.
For at least a few years now, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association has offered a 50-percent discount on MLB TV to its members, but you don’t need to be a retired baseball player to take advantage. Just sign up for a “Home Run Fan Membership” for $25 per year, and you’ll get a discount code that cuts the price of MLB TV in half.
MLB TV is charging $150 for the 2023 season, and the discount drops the price to $75. Factoring in the $25 cost of an MLBPAA membership brings the total to $100, which is $50 off the list price. (Students and military can also save another 35 percent on top of those discounts.)
As of now, it’s unclear whether T-Mobile customers should partake in this offer, as the carrier has previously offered MLB TV for free to its subscribers. The carrier has not yet indicated whether it will continue this deal in 2023. But for everyone else, this is the best price you’ll get without waiting for mid-season discounts.
Still, I wanted to see for myself if the deal works as advertised, so I bought a one-year fan membership through the MLBPAA website. Within a few minutes of signing up, you’ll receive an email with instructions on how to get the MLB TV discount. (A word of caution to Gmail users: This email showed up in my “Promotions” folder instead of my inbox.)
Strangely, there’s no coupon code or membership portal through which to redeem the deal. Instead, the welcome email links to a special landing page that anyone can visit, with a warning that only qualified members will receive the promotional price. Sure enough, signing in with my MLB.com account brought me to a checkout page with the 50-percent discount intact.
Jared Newman / IDG
Fans of Minor League Baseball can also add an MiLB TV subscription for $12.50, down from the usual $25. The MLBPAA membership also comes with other benefits, such as discounts on MLB.com merchandise, Oakley products, and gym subscriptions, but I’ve yet to investigate any of those.
As a bonus, MLB TV subscriptions through MLBPAA are non-recurring, as is the MLBPAA membership itself, so you won’t get automatically billed for either subscription in 2023. That’s not the case when you sign up for MLB TV the usual way.
As Swann notes, the MLBPAA deal went away in mid-April last year. It’s unclear how long it’ll last in 2023, but don’t count on it being available throughout the season.
What you get
As in previous years, MLB TV only includes access to out-of-market baseball games, so you can’t use it to watch your local team. You’ll also won’t get games that air on national TV channels and those that are exclusive to other streaming services, such as Friday Night Baseball on Apple TV+. (Swann notes, however, that MLB has never taken legal action against those who use a VPN to access in-market games, and the organization declined to comment when asked if it opposes this behavior.)
That said, MLB TV has always been a solid service for its intended use case of watching games that aren’t airing in your local market or on cable. Its video quality tends to be excellent, and its app offers neat features such as “condensed” game replays and the ability to hide scores.
Keep in mind that MLB TV typically reduces the cost of its service throughout the season, and in years past has offered a 50-percent discount on Father’s Day.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.