been served a summons and complaint regarding their blackout restriction procedures. MLB was just one of the defendants in the complain that alleges antitrust violations in regards to their decisions to blackout games.
MLB.tv is the biggest culprit and source of frustration. The streaming media service allows customers to watch any game, anytime…unless it’s blacked out. Passan points out the example of baseball fans in Las Vegas. They can’t watch any San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Dodgers, Los Angeles Angels, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, or Arizona Diamondbacks games. That’s six teams out of 30 teams. And if any of those teams plays another team Las Vegans would normally have been able to see play, forget about it. Blacked out.
The issue is worse than I ever knew. I live in Tucson, AZ and my blackout restrictions have been limited to Arizona Diamondbacks games. It used to be that the San Diego Padres were blacked out here as well, but it seems MLB realized the absurdity of such a thing and lifted that restriction. That, or someone working for MLB will read this, realize they made a mistake, and quickly revoke my ability to watch Padres games.
The complaint against MLB and numbers regional sports television networks has been brought by four fans. These fans, Fernanda Garber; Marc Lerner; Derek Rasmussen; and Robert Silver, have done what no one thought possible or no one considered. They have sued the conglomerate known as Major League Baseball and their cronies.
The complaint, which can be viewed here, was filed on May 9, 2012. While the league is taking the suit very seriously, Passan does not necessarily think the case will go anywhere. As he points out, most anti-trust lawsuits come back in favor of the defendant, and in this case, MLB will likely look to settle outside of court.
Access to games is a topic near and dear to most fans’ hearts. This suit, while quietly working its way through the courts in New York City, has a chance to do something about the arbitrary blackout restrictions that affect almost all of us. However, it will take time. And during that time we will continue to miss out on games we have no other way of watching. Hawaiians will never be able to watch a west coast team’s games until the restrictions are lifted. So, to the brave men who have dared challenge Bud Selig and HIS Major League Baseball, I say march on!