The 2019 Major League Baseball postseason is both a cord-cutter’s dream and a slight puzzle. Every game is available either free over the airwaves or via an online stream, although the games bounce around from network to network. Here’s a guide for consuming as much cable-free playoff baseball as possible.
(Need help figuring out if you should cut the cord? Here’s an explainer of what you should consider and the hardware you need to make it happen.)
The easiest way to stream games is with “authenticated access” to a television provider. In other words, if you log in to a streaming app with your cable or satellite account credentials, you can watch the action free. If you don’t have a cable or satellite subscription, that’s okay. Many providers allow log-ins from multiple devices, so if you have a family member or friend, they can share their password without worrying about running afoul of the law.
Here are streaming options for the final two rounds:
League Championship Series
There are a number of ways to watch these games.
You can use a third-party subscription service such as SlingTV, PlayStation Vue, YouTube TV, Hulu or others. All of these offer a basic package of channels, and you can flip through them in a cable-like guide.
SlingTV is the cheapest: $25 a month for the “Sling Orange” package, which has TBS, allowing access to the NLCS games. The other options are around $40 to $50 per month, but with more channels. You can also stream those games on TBS.com, if you have an authenticated account.
The great thing about these third-party services: They follow you around. Download the mobile apps and watch on your phone or tablet or laptop (just be sure to connect to WiFi or be aware of your data plan on mobile devices). And, once you decide you no longer need the service, cancel your subscription.
The ALCS games are carried on Fox and Fox Sports 1, Fox’s sports network. If you watched any of the Women’s World Cup this summer, you probably watched some matches on FS1. That station is not available in a stand-alone app, so you’ll need a third-party subscription for access. On SlingTV, you’d want the “Sling Blue” package for $25 a month. (A dispute temporarily took FS1 off Sling packages this fall, but on Oct. 6 the companies announced an agreement to restore Sling subscribers’ access to Fox networks.) On the other services, which range in cost from $40 to $50 per month, FS1 comes standard.
You can also stream simulcasts of all postseason games on the Fox Sports app, but you’ll need authenticated access. You can’t purchase an independent subscription to Fox Sports.
If you have MLB.TV, Major League Baseball’s own streaming service, you’ll at some point need to invest in another option. The postseason games are only available for MLB.TV subscribers with “authenticated access,” meaning subscribers who also purchase participating cable or satellite services. If you’re streaming solely with MLB.TV, nationally broadcast postseason games (which is every postseason game) are blacked out.
You can subscribe to Postseason.TV, MLB’s subscription playoff streaming service, but you’ll only have access to “live alternative video feeds,” and not the regular game broadcast, which is also blacked out. The archived broadcasts are available about 90 minutes after games end.
But, there’s another option for the ALCS games on Fox. You can buy a digital TV antenna (yes, an antenna; if you thought those days were dead, you were wrong) that will pick up Fox’s over-the-air public broadcast signal. Don’t worry, this is not the kind of antenna you hang on your roof. This can sit indoors behind your TV and looks something like your old cable box. If you have company over to watch the game, they’ll be none the wiser.
You can buy one of these at your local electronics store or online for anywhere from $15 to $127. There’s a ton of variation in terms of capability and reliability on the market. Here are some online resources to help figure out how to set it up. The bottom line: Once you’ve set up the antenna, you can connect to public channels including ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox and PBS free of charge.
|Oct. 11||Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals, 8:08 p.m.||TBS|
|Oct. 12||Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals, 4:08 p.m.||TBS|
|Oct. 14||St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals||TBS|
|Oct. 15||St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals||TBS|
|Oct. 16||St. Louis Cardinals at Washington Nationals*||TBS|
|Oct. 18||Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals*||TBS|
|Oct. 19||Washington Nationals at St. Louis Cardinals*||TBS|
|Oct. 12||New York Yankees at Houston Astros, 8:08 p.m.||Fox|
|Oct. 13||New York Yankees at Houston Astros, 8:08 p.m.||FS1|
|Oct. 15||Houston Astros at New York Yankees||FS1 or Fox|
|Oct. 16||Houston Astros at New York Yankees||FS1 or Fox|
|Oct. 17||Houston Astros at New York Yankees*||FS1 or Fox|
|Oct. 19||New York Yankees at Houston Astros*||FS1 or Fox|
|Oct. 20||New York Yankees at Houston Astros*||FS1 or Fox|
* - if necessary; all times Eastern.
Seven (potentially) games to go, and there’s only one option for streaming. Remember, Fox does not have a stand-alone or a-la-carte subscription service. You can only access it with a cable subscription or a third-party streaming service. Or, again, you can opt for the antenna.
YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue and Hulu are your best options for streaming because Fox comes standard. You can also get Fox on “Sling Blue” but only in select markets (click here for a list).
Remember, if you have access to an “authenticated account” for a TV provider, you probably don’t need to jump through these hoops. But for the streaming purist, this should be enough to get you through the MLB postseason.
|Oct. 22||World Series Game 1||Fox|
|Oct. 23||World Series Game 2||Fox|
|Oct. 25||World Series Game 3||Fox|
|Oct. 26||World Series Game 4||Fox|
|Oct. 27||World Series Game 5*||Fox|
|Oct. 29||World Series Game 6*||Fox|
|Oct. 30||World Series Game 7*||Fox|
* - if necessary; all times Eastern.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly said that some MLB playoff games would be streamed on B-R Live.