Baseball and basketball fans can now turn to the second-generation Apple TV for live and on-demand archived games streaming in HD. The subscription service will cost $100/year for MLB.tv (spring training and regular season games and access to archived games). A $120 premium version provides access to both home and away games. Basketball games are accessible via the NBA League Pass Broadband service. The NBA service offers two options: a $65 version lets users follow up to seven teams throughout the regular season, while a $99 option provides games from all 30 teams.
Both services have blackouts based on the subscription’s registration address.
Access to the new services is enabled by the iOS for Apple TV 4.2 update, and will work similarly to Netflix. Users sign in via an account and password, and then access whatever content the subscription permits. Roku has offered similar MLB.tv access for some time and recently added NHL and UFC options. This could be what sports fans need to ditch traditional cable services.
In a related Wall Street Journal “All Things Digital” article (3/14/11), ESPN reports that only a tiny fraction of sports fans have cut the cable cord, a number that may be moot considering the equal number of fans who added cable and broadband access during the same period.