TV Blackouts Will Not Exist in Minnesota Twins New Broadcasting Age
Blackouts… what are those? Those are the types of questions future kids will ask their Minnesota Twins fan parents when they overhear them reminiscing about how we used to watch our favorite baseball team ‘back in the day’.
No more TV blackouts for Minnesota Twins
We still do not know the organization’s plan to broadcast their games over TV and streaming devices next season. But according to new TV play-by-play announcer, Cory Provus, who was officially introduced on Friday morning, local blackouts of Minnesota Twins broadcasts will no longer exist in whatever new viewing age we’re about to enter.
No clarity yet on where Twins games will be broadcast, but Cory Provus did share this encouraging news: "Blackouts are going away. Twins games are going to be more accessible."— Aaron Gleeman (@AaronGleeman) December 1, 2023
How does Provus know what the plan is? Sure, he’s going to call games from a different broadcast booth but that doesn’t mean he has insider knowledge on their plans to bring live games to the eyeballs of fans outside MLB stadiums next summer, right?
Wrong. Provus told reporters today that the end of local TV blackouts was a major factor in why he took the job and left his play-by-play position in the radio booth.
Cory Provus said that accessibility of the Twins TV broadcast for more fans was a very important factor in making his decision to move to TV. He says he's been told there will be no blackouts of the broadcast moving forward.— Do-Hyoung Park (@dohyoungpark) December 1, 2023
What is a TV sports blackout?
For that day when your kids ask, here’s the definition of sports TV blackout, according to the FCC:
A “sports blackout” occurs when a sports event that was scheduled to be televised is not aired in a particular media market. A blackout may prevent transmission of sports programming on local broadcast networks and/or non-broadcast platforms such as cable and satellite television.
Blackouts were made a thing long before the internet existed. Until the late 90’s, they were a big problem for NFL football games, in regions where stadiums struggled to sell out games. Prior to Randy Moss’ arrival back in 1998, it was a real problem for the Minnesota Vikings and their fanbase.
Regional Sports Networks + MLB blackouts
But more recently, it has become a problem for regional sports broadcasts in the MLB, NBA and NHL. Essentially, regional sports networks (like Bally Sports North) own the rights to broadcast games of the teams they own viewing rights to (like the Twins).
If your cable, satellite or streaming provider decides not to carry said regional sports network, for whatever reason, then their customers are not able to view games locally.
“Locally” is a very key word. Because regional broadcast rights only apply to local viewing areas. That means, if you are a Twins fan living outside of Minnesota, it’s been way easier to stream their games over the last handful of years, than for someone living two blocks away from Target Field.
The MLB offers a variety of different packages to watch non-local market teams of your choosing. You want to stream directly from the MLB.TV app or website, or if you’d rather buy an additional package (Extra Innings) through your cable/satellite provider. In other words…
- If you live outside of the Twins local viewing area and you’re willing to pay a reasonable monthly fee, watching your favorite baseball team was no problem.
- If you live in Minnesota (or anywhere in the Bally Sports North viewing area), however, you can buy whatever MLB package you want, the Twins games were blacked out.
You think you have it bad? If you’re in the wrong area of Iowa, you might be blacked out from streaming up to four different teams thanks to local viewing areas that bleed into others.
Assuming Cory Provus knows what he’s talking about, though, those days are over. At least for Minnesota Twins fans. If I can make a recommendation to any Minnesota sports fan… get Fubo.TV.
Fubo offers Bally Sports North right now and will until they no longer hold rights to the Twins, Wild and Timberwolves. And they’ll offer those teams in whatever future broadcasting plans those teams have.