New York Mets fans have spent months awaiting new pitcher Max Scherzer’s regular-season debut. Barring any unexpected setbacks with his hamstring, the three-time National League Cy Young Award winner will face his former team, the Washington Nationals, on Friday, April 8.
Unfortunately for Mets fans, they won’t be able to watch Scherzer’s Mets debut on SNY. Instead, they’ll need to turn to the magical and often-glitchy world of streaming.
Max Scherzer’s Mets debut is on Apple TV, and it’s free to watch
Welcome to the age of streaming, one where college football games air on ESPN+ and where Amazon Prime is now the exclusive rights holder of Thursday Night Football games.
Streaming has reached Major League Baseball, and it could create early-season issues for Mets fans. Earlier this year, MLB and Apple agreed to an $85 million annual streaming deal, one where the service will air a Friday Night Baseball doubleheader throughout the year. The first game on FNB? That would be the Mets and Nationals in Scherzer’s debut with the Blue and Orange.
To be clear, viewers will not need to pay to watch the Mets-Nationals game. Although Apple TV is a streaming service with subscriptions, all Friday Night Baseball games are expected to be free. Fans in the New York and Washington markets will not need to worry about blackouts, either.
Apple TV is available on most devices, including smartphones, smart TVs, and gaming consoles. WCBS 880 and 106.7 The Fan, the Mets’ and Nationals’ respective radio homes, will also carry the games. As of publication, it remained unclear if those who had the radio package through MLB TV would be allowed to access that feed or if they would be limited to the Apple TV broadcast copy.
Sports fans need to accept that more games will be exclusive to streaming platforms in the coming years
It’d be difficult to blame Mets fans for wanting to enjoy the beloved trio of Gary Cohen, Keith Hernandez, and Ron Darling on SNY instead of watching Scherzer, Pete Alonso, and the rest of The Amazins on Apple TV. We take comfort in what we know, which is why plenty of New York Yankees fans still listen to John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman even if they enjoy mocking the duo.
However, the reality is that games airing exclusively on streaming services isn’t going away. NBCUniversal recently inked a two-year deal worth roughly $30 million per year to air baseball games exclusively through Peacock. YouTube streamed 21 MLB games for free during the 2021 season. Yankees fans living in the New York area will need to watch 21 of their team’s games on Amazon Prime this year.
Amazon is paying a staggering $1 billion per year to exclusively stream Thursday Night Football games outside of local broadcast networks. ESPN+ has partnered with most college conferences, including the SEC, to air football games each season. The money is in streaming, and these leagues and networks fully accept that fact, even if it presents an inconvenience for fans.
There will likely always be a segment of fans who complain about needing to use streaming services to watch their favorite teams, and those who need to pay to do so are more than justified. Anyone who has sat through a college football game on ESPN+ has likely already been subject to terrible camera angles, incorrect commentary, and mediocre graphic packages regardless of what conference their favorite team plays in — and remember, ESPN+ forces you to pay to watch those games.
But, let’s try to limit those complaints when the game is free. The production value of a showdown between the Mets and Nationals or the Yankees and Detroit Tigers on Apple TV will likely be far more impressive than that of a Conference USA football game on ESPN+.