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Streaming Is A Disservice To Sports Fans

Next Friday, Max Scherzer’s highly anticipated debut with the Mets will air exclusively on AppleTV+, one of many streaming service options, though hardly the most popular.

This means New York sports fans will not be able to watch the game on SportsNet New York (SNY), a service they pay for each month so that they don’t miss a single Mets game. So, if they can’t figure out how to access AppleTV+, they’ll miss this one.

This move isn’t going over well with baseball fans, especially those who are older and therefore more likely to struggle with streaming technology. Some baseball fans don’t know how to stream, and they are unaware that Apple even has its own version of Netflix. Did you know it did?

The baseball fan with the highest profile in America, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo, is leading the charge against the decision. Here’s Mad Dog responding to the news that he will have to learn how to use AppleTV+:

“I guarantee you right now, if you put on local radio station WFAN, and you’re those Mets fans, that’s their whole show. They’re not talking today about North Carolina-Duke. Their whole show today is listening to the angry old man call up the radio station, get off my lawn, all ticked off that he can’t see Scherzer’s first start because God help him, he doesn’t know how to figure out Apple TV. And he’s isn’t the only one. Or he might not have Apple TV. He’s not the only one. That’s baseball fooling around. And I’ll tell you, that’s dangerous. That’s dangerous.”

Dangerous, indeed.

Though AppleTV+ will air the baseball game free of charge, it lessens the value of cable or satellite packages to which many sports fans already subscribe. That irks paying subscribers, as it should.

Sports are one of the few reasons households still pay for linear television. To have access to local baseball games, some viewers already have to subscribe to an expensive add-on regional sports network. And networks like SNY aren’t going to lower their prices because streaming services are taking games away from television networks.

In addition to Friday Night Baseball on AppleTV, MLB also sold 18 games to Peacock, NBC’s Netflix competitor.

This September, the NFL will move Thursday Night Football to Amazon Prime exclusively. As Mad Dog said, viewers will take a voyage to find the NFL, but they won’t like it:

“We’re going to work our rear ends off to find football games on Thursday night. We’re going to work hard for those games. We’ll find them. It’s NFL football. We bet them. Plus the local game in your market’s going to be on over-the-air channels anyway. But the Mets game isn’t on an over-the-air channel. It’s on Apple. We’ll find those games on Thursday night. We’ll find them. One night a week, we’ll find (Al) Michaels and (Kirk) Herbstreit for the Thursday night streaming game. We’ll find them. Gotta bet them. We’ll find them. The old-time Mets fan living out in Plainview, he’s going to be raising hell, a week from Friday. ‘Where the hell’s the Scherzer game?’

And, still, TNF will likely draw a fraction of its former audience on Amazon. NFL viewers have a median age of around 50 — a group that likely won’t want to switch over to HDMI2 on their television and then locate an app. If they even know how to do that.

So the less popular sports hardly have a chance. Did you know ESPN+ and Hulu carry NHL games now? Probably not.

Soon, passionate sports viewers will need to subscribe to the highest cable package, the local add-on network and every streaming service available. It will take a lot of money, passwords and effort to be a sports fan. Good luck remembering where to find each game.

At this rate, some fans will just find something else to watch. You can’t blame them.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

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