Padres fans should be able to relate. They now have the honor of being National League groundbreakers -- to participate in the first widespread distribution of a National League team's live games streamed online within their team's home television territory.
That fun and honor begins at 7:05 p.m. PT on Thursday when the Rockies visit the Padres at PETCO Park. Not only will fans be able to watch games in the stadium or on TV, but now they also will have the unprecedented option of watching their team live at home or at the office -- wherever they want in the Channel 4 San Diego viewing territory.
Signups are under way for Padres.TV, available with two billing options. Choose a one-time fee of $49.95 or a monthly fee of $19.95 and watch live streaming of Channel 4's in-market Padres games for the remainder of the regular season.
"We are very pleased to partner in this important joint effort to deliver greater access to Padres fans within their local market," said Bob DuPuy, Major League Baseball's president and chief operating officer. "The agreement presents additional opportunities for fans to stay connected to the Padres while providing them the flexibility and convenience to do so when they cannot be at PETCO Park. San Diego also marks the second franchise to take this significant step by offering in-market streaming and I expect additional clubs to follow in the near future."
Cox Communications, the Padres and MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) announced the agreement on June 29, allowing customers who subscribe to Cox's broadband high-speed Internet service within the Padres' home television territory to purchase a package of Padres game telecasts for live in-market online viewing.
Using an authentication process that will be enabled and managed by MLBAM and Cox, Cox High Speed Internet customers can watch Padres games live on their computer anywhere in the Padres television market, including at work or at home.
Padres fans can learn more about the product with a helpful FAQ and purchase the package on web pages accessible from Padres.com and Cox.com. Where available, games will be delivered with high-definition-quality pictures, using the highest quality live streaming pioneered by MLBAM this year in its MLB.TV Premium package.
"We're proud to be at the forefront and breaking new ground among professional sports franchises by offering live, in-market, online viewing to our fans," said Tom Garfinkel, president and COO of the Padres. "We're committed to creating more choices for how our fans experience Padres baseball here at PETCO Park and beyond."
"Now Cox customers have another convenient way to enjoy Channel 4 San Diego's award-winning coverage of Padres baseball," said Craig Nichols, vice president and general manager of Channel 4 San Diego.
Will Gonzalez join Greg Vaughn (50 in 1998) as the only player in Padres history to reach 50 home runs? Gonzalez went into the All-Star break with 24, behind in the NL only Albert Pujols of the Cardinals. Will the young Padres mature into a contender down the stretch? Will Padres fans be able to follow their favorite team's live games no matter what in the second half?
At least one of those questions is now answered, starting with the Rockies series.
No other professional sports league offers a live in-market streaming product that includes such an expansive distribution of games with local broadcast TV deals within the local broadcast territory. The Yankees were the first to introduce this on July 6, and the Padres are now the second such club and the first in the NL. DuPuy has said he expects similar arrangements to be announced gradually, and that a "majority" of clubs should be included by sometime in 2010.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.