page break Phillies fans in the Philadelphia region who have waited for years to watch games on their computers, smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices will finally get their wish this year.
The NBC Sports Group announced Thursday that Comcast SportsNet will offer live streaming of Phillies games, plus pregame and postgame shows, beginning on opening day of the 2017 regular season. As of this time, spring training games this year will not be included.
You will need to have a cable subscription that includes Comcast SportsNet to watch games. If you are a subscriber to one of those providers, you will be able to watch CSN's authenticated streaming from anywhere in the United States.
Pay-TV providers that carry CSN and should offer access to the streaming service include Comcast, Verizon FiOS, Cablevision, RCN, Armstrong, Atlantic Broadband, Harron, Lamont Digital Services, and Service Electric.
Comcast defines the geographic distribution area of the local market as stretching from Centre County (home of Penn State) to the Pennsylvania-Maryland border, east to the Delaware beaches, up the Jersey Shore to Toms River, then back over to Pennsylvania and north to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre region.
Previously, the only way to watch Phillies games online in the Philadelphia market was with a paid subscription to PlayStation Vue, whose cheapest tier with CSN costs $44.99 a month. That service was launched in March of 2015, though it did not become available to customers without a PlayStation video game console until the end of that year.
Rival cord-cutting services SlingTV and DirecTV Now do not offer CSN; fuboTV will offer CSN when its new platform is launched later this year.
Outside of the local market, Phillies fans across the rest of the country have long been able to watch games with a paid subscription to Major League Baseball's streaming platform, MLB.TV.
This season will be the first in which free-with-authentication streaming of Phillies games is available to fans within the market.
The streaming option should prove especially popular with younger fans who don't have their own cable subscriptions, but have access to the accounts of friends or relatives.
David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, said that NBC negotiated the streaming rights with MLB Advanced Media, which handles these deals for Major League Baseball.
"We live in an impression-based world and impressions transcend platforms," Preschlack said. NBC Sports said it saw significant consumption gains of live sports games when it began streaming NBA games in the 2014-'15 season.
Advertising is dynamically inserted into the live streams, in addition to the TV advertising, NBC officials said.
Thursday's announcement didn't just include the Phillies. NBC Sports announced that all of its other regional sports networks in Major League Baseball markets — Chicago, San Francisco and Oakland — will also offer online streaming of those teams' games to their subscribers.
Fox Sports regional sports networks began streaming baseball games in their 15 MLB markets last year. Adding in the Toronto Blue Jays, whose games are carried by Canadian broadcaster Rogers Sportsnet, 21 MLB teams now offer local online streaming in their markets.