DUBUQUE, Iowa — Did you know that if you live in Iowa, you can't stream 20% of MLB teams' games?
With the 'Field of Dreams' game between the Yankees and White Sox coming up on Thursday night in Dyersville, Iowa, at least one baseball fan in Iowa is giving the MLB a piece of their mind about blackout rules. Although, are they complaining to the right people?
A billboard was put up in Dubuque, Iowa, on the way to Dyersville, asking MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to end the MLB blackouts in Iowa.
It's one of those weird broadcast agreement sports things that ends up giving a ton of people the short-end of the stick. In this case, the entire state of Iowa.
If you live in Iowa and watch sports, you probably know this already. Iowa has to deal with this in multiple sports, not just baseball. But for those unaware, people in Iowa can't stream baseball games played by SIX baseball teams including the Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Brewers, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins.
This means Iowans can't purchase the very popular MLB.TV streaming platform (where every MLB game, every day, is streamed for fans around the country to enjoy) and watch any of the six nearest MLB clubs play home or away games, because of broadcast blackout rules involving regional sports networks.
Below is a Des Moines zip code used to show which teams the zip code is blacked out from viewing.
Furthermore, say someone in Iowa is a fan of the Colorado Rockies. Every game involving the Rockies against any of those six teams above would be blacked out every time.
These agreements are made by regional sports networks around the country with MLB teams. The networks obviously stand to benefit from people watching their network on cable or satellite because not only do they get increased ad revenue during game broadcasts, but usually a slice of the cable subscriptions in their broadcast area. So, the regional sports networks will draw a larger broadcast coverage area, even overlapping with other teams' coverage areas and especially into states like Iowa that have no MLB teams.
Iowa isn't the only place that deals with a crazy overlap in blackouts. For example, southern Nevada (Las Vegas) is also blacked out from six teams including the Dodgers, Angels, Dbacks, Padres, Giants and A's. Hawaii is blacked out from Dodgers, Angels, Giants, Padres, and A's games.
Unfortunately, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred can't wave a wand and make this happen. Not that he would, anyways, but it's worth mentioning the billboard is likely pressuring the wrong person.