Sportsnet NOW vs. MLB.TV for watching the Blue Jays

Sportsnet NOW vs. MLB.TV for watching the Blue Jays

Sportsnet NOW was recently made available to non-cable subscribers for $24.99/month, making it an interesting alternative to the MLB.TV service for watching Blue Jays baseball in the 2016 season.

Here we compare the two services, to help you make the choice on which service to subscribe to.



Live Blue Jays Baseball

Sportsnet NOW gives access to all 162 Blue Jays regular season games, as well as the MLB Post-season and the World Series (hopefully featuring said Blue Jays).  You can also catch the Sportsnet pre-game, in-game, and post-game analysis.

MLB.TV allows you to watch all live and archived games with commercials and in-game studio analysis edited out (which some might view as a plus).  Note that the MLB.TV blackout policy warns that MLB Postseason games will be blacked out live.  In the past few years, they did not make good on this threat, and postseason games could  be watched live on MLB.TV in Canada.

Winner: Both allow you to watch the live games, so the comparison is pretty much a wash.  If you value the pre-game, in-game, post-game analysis, then Sportsnet NOW might be for you.


Sportsnet NOW is a service being provided by a Canadian company to Canadian viewers, and features all games by the lone Canadian team.  Canadians (while in Canada) will be able to watch the Blue Jays on this service.  Note that if you travel out of the country, you will not be able to access Sportsnet NOW.

MLB.TV is a service marketed for watching out-of-market baseball games, and therefore blackouts are one of the main features of this service (ha!).  Unfortunately, at least for Canadians, MLB.TV does a poor job at communicating what exactly will be blacked out. There are a few pages that detail the blackout restrictions. The main point is that all games (home and away) in your home television territory are subject to blackouts. What is missing from these details is that the home television territory for the Blue Jays is all of Canada. Rogers owns the broadcasting rights Canada-wide for the Blue Jays, but unless you happened to know that, the MLB.TV fine print would not help you determine if the games will be blacked out.

In the past few seasons, Rogers has not enforced blackouts in Canada, meaning Canadians could watch the Blue Jays live on MLB.TV. What will happen in 2016 remains to be seen, but at least the first two games have not been blacked out.

Also note that:

U.S. Clubs may also be subject to blackout in parts of Canada based on their home television territory as determined by Major League Baseball.

Unfortunately, they give no indication as to which parts of Canada, which U.S. Clubs, and how Major League Baseball determines this.

When a game is blacked out, you cannot watch it live, but the archived game can be streamed approximately 90 minutes after the conclusion of the game.

Winner: Sportsnet NOW

Other content

Sportsnet NOW gives access to NHL (subject to out-of-region blackouts), NBA, soccer, news & analysis, and many more sports. Besides the Blue Jays, Sportsnet NOW also features the occasional MLB game.

Subscribers to MLB.TV Premium get access to all games of all other MLB teams (though MLB.TV warns that Canadians in the home television territory of American teams might get hit with blackouts).

Winner: If you follow other MLB teams, then MLB.TV Premium has you covered.  If you prefer to watch some of the other sports that Sportsnet covers, then Sportsnet NOW might be for you.

Device support

Sportsnet NOW works on a limited number of devices currently, but promises to support Apple TV, Chromecast and game consoles soon.

MLB.TV has ubiquitous device support.  Almost any modern device that can access the Internet will be able to run MLB.TV.

Winner: MLB.TV

Video quality

Sportsnet NOW delivers a respectable quality of video to your devices.  However, it is still a compressed video stream, and does not look as smooth as an HD television broadcast.

MLB.TV has crystal HD picture, and starting in 2016, will show games in buttery smooth 60 frames per second.

Winner: MLB.TV


At $24.99/month, Sportsnet NOW is a priced as a premium service. If all you want is baseball, Sportsnet NOW comes at a cheaper price than subscribing to basic cable + sports package + device rental. Still, you have to be a committed sports fan to find value.

MLB.TV has three pricing options, all in US dollars: $24.99/month for MLB premium, $109.99/year for MLB premium, or $84.99/year for a single team subscription.  (Note: it seems MLB.TV are only promoting the single team subscription to American visitors.  As of today, it seems you must be visiting from an American IP address to order this option).

The MLB.TV single team option will give you the season of baseball for about $110 CAD versus $150 CAD for the regular season months on Sportsnet NOW.

Winner: MLB.TV


If you only want to watch Blue Jays baseball this summer, and don't want a cable package or care about catching the other sports that Sportsnet NOW carries, then MLB.TV is the clear choice based on features, video quality, price, and device support.

However, the one looming question is whether Rogers plans to flip the switch on blackouts, locking out Canadian Blue Jays fans from watching their team on MLB.TV. After setting the precedent of no blackouts for the last couple of years, it would be a very consumer-unfriendly move to turn on blackouts in the middle of the season. Instead, it may be that Rogers is perfectly happy to let the MLB.TV blackout situation be ambiguous, while promoting their Sportsnet NOW service.

Therefore, if the threat of a blackout worries you, Sportsnet NOW is your only streaming option.