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How in the heck can I watch Oakland A's games live?
June 16, 2014 12:09 PM   Subscribe

Haven't owned a TV ever since I got a projector, but now that I'm back in the US I'd like to catch Oakland A's games on local broadcast. How to do this as cheaply as possible?

I'd prefer to get the MLB.TV package but I tried that and found that I'm blacked out of local games here in the Bay Area, and can only watch games online starting an hour after they've actually finished. This is terribly un-ideal for night games, which are the majority of those I'd be able to watch.

As far as I can google, A's games are broadcast on CSCA, which I guess is on the Comcast Sports Network? So, I called Comcast, and the cheapest package I can get from them that includes that package is 84.99 a month. We currently pay 39.99 for our internet, so more than doubling our cable bill just to get the one channel I want to watch baseball games seems ridiculous.

There's a local bar I could watch games at but that will probably require $15-20 in drinks per game to be able to sit there without getting grief, so that's not a cost-optimal option either.

What other (legal) options might be out there that I'm not thinking of in order to watch my team on a regular basis without spending a bundle?

Thanks.
posted by allkindsoftime to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Most people I know who want to do this get MLB.tv and then a Proxy to trick it into thinking you are somewhere else in the country. Here are a few recent threads that discuss Proxy options, and perhaps someone will show up in here with a specific suggestion.

Also, though, I have spent a lot of time in bars drinking basically nothing (I haven't ordered alcohol in a bar in years, and I have spent a lot of time in bars in the past few years), and nobody has ever actually given me grief. They might secretly hate me, but nobody has ever made that apparent to me in any way.
posted by brainmouse at 12:13 PM on June 16 [1 favorite]


CSN-CA (CSN California) is one of the local Comcast sports channels. The other is CSN-BA (CSN Bay Area) which broadcasts the Giants game. I was under the impression these are both channels available on the lower tier Comcast packages. I'm wondering if the sales rep you talked to wasn't trying to upsell you? Maybe try calling back again?

I have no personal experience with this but a friend of mine recently used hidemyass.com VPN service to watch Netflix in France and was happy with it. I'm not sure if this falls within your definition of legal but really, mlb.tv with a VPN service is most likely the cheapest route.

I totally sympathize - I hate blackout restrictions and hate cable companies even more.
posted by moxiequz at 12:24 PM on June 16 [2 favorites]


I have this exact same issue. (Let's go Oakland!) I've looked into the MLB.tv/proxy concept a little bit myself, but one potential problem I've heard of is that MLB.tv blacks you out based not just on the location of your IP but also the billing address for your credit card. I don't know if this is true or not but it's one of the factors that has stopped me from trying it out.

The lengths that MLB goes through to prevent me giving them money are ridiculous. Guess what? I'm not going to pay for cable so you're getting NOTHING until you allow streaming of local games. Well done!
posted by harkin banks at 12:56 PM on June 16


So, I called Comcast, and the cheapest package I can get from them that includes that package is 84.99 a month. We currently pay 39.99 for our internet, so more than doubling our cable bill just to get the one channel I want to watch baseball games seems ridiculous.

Well, the cheapest package that Comcast has at all is $29.99 ("for the first 12 months"). I couldn't get their website to tell me straight whether this includes the CSNx channels or not, but assume it does. You would still be paying 30 + 40 = $70 for internet plus minimal cable, so realistically you are only looking at an extra $15/mo to guarantee access to the specific thing you want.

Maybe call back and specifically ask about the entire channel lineup for the "Digital TV Starter" package, which is the cheap one? That's probably your best bet if you really want to keep your current internet and save $15/mo.
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 1:01 PM on June 16


Got any friends who have cable TV and an extra set-top box that they don't use much? Buy a Slingbox, give it to them, and have them install it on their spare/underutilized box, then connect to it to watch games.

If necessary, you can offer to pay whatever it costs for them to add another set-top box to their existing installation, which is usually pretty cheap.

I did some Slingbox trading back in the day when I wanted to watch Philly-area channels from here in Pittsburgh. I didn't do it for baseball because the MLB.tv streaming package is fantastic, lets me download the videos and skip through them instantaneously, etc. But I would be screwed by the same blackout rules if I still lived in Philly.
posted by tonycpsu at 1:11 PM on June 16 [3 favorites]


As a possible compromise solution, the radio feed package from MLB.com is only $20 for the entire season, and not blacked out anywhere. Also, MLB.tv offers up one free game a day, so keep an eye on the schedule and you'll at least get the occasional game that way.
posted by COD at 1:31 PM on June 16


one potential problem I've heard of is that MLB.tv blacks you out based not just on the location of your IP but also the billing address for your credit card

Not so. Otherwise nobody in Canada could hide their IP address and watch Blue Jays games, and I assure you that they do.
posted by synecdoche at 6:13 PM on June 16


I pay $3.99 a month for a proxy and haven't had any issues watching Giants and A's games. I use bestproxyandvpn.com. It feels a little spammy, but it seems to work fine.
posted by duckus at 7:18 PM on June 16


Any idea if I can use these proxy's on an ipad?
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:55 PM on June 18


I haven't gotten the HMA app working right yet on the ipad, but I did go the MLBTV subscription route and can at least watch games on my laptop / projector setup. HMA is working for watching games live, at least for now.
posted by allkindsoftime at 3:50 PM on June 25


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