Watching This Week #104
An abbreviated newsletter with updated listings for March 20-26, 2023.
Here's where the Friday night Baltimore–Toronto game will be available to stream in Canada.
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Update (October 7, 2022): This page has gotten some recent activity but was about a past regular season game. Apple TV+ does not have postseason MLB rights. We have a separate page with information about where to find broadcasts of the Jays' 2022 American League Wild Card Series against the Seattle Mariners.
The Toronto Blue Jays will continue their 2022 Major League Baseball (MLB) campaign with a series hosting the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre (SkyDome) from Friday, September 16 to Sunday, September 18, 2022.
However, viewers in Canada should be aware that the Orioles–Jays game on Friday, September 16, 2022, with first pitch scheduled for 7:07 p.m. ET / 4:07 p.m. PT, will not be broadcast on Sportsnet, the team's usual broadcast home.
Instead, this game will be available to stream for free as part of MLB's new Apple TV+ Friday Night Baseball package, with coverage starting at 6:30 p.m. ET / 3:30 p.m. PT, as announced by Apple on August 4. This means that in several countries including the United States and Canada, the only way to watch this game will be through the Apple TV app.
This is the fifth and final Blue Jays game in the 2022 season to be part of the Friday Night Baseball package on Apple TV Plus.
Despite the games being branded as "Apple TV+" games, there is no subscription required (for now) to the Apple TV+ service in order to watch these exclusive games, and this will remain the case through the end of the 2022 Major League Baseball season (Apple's rights do not include any postseason games). That said, it remains very possible that games will be pulled behind the Apple TV+ paywall in 2023.
For this game on September 14, the only requirements are that:
If and when you do wish to subscribe to Apple TV+ – which offers a lot of other quality, Emmy-winning programming like Ted Lasso and Severance – the current subscription price in Canada is $5.99 per month, or $59.99 per year (both prices before applicable sales taxes), with free trials available to first-time subscribers.
The other games in the series – on Saturday and Sunday – will be available on Sportsnet, and streaming on Sportsnet Now, as usual.
Throughout the 162-game regular season, the vast majority of games featuring the Toronto Blue Jays – as the only MLB franchise in Canada – air across the country on the various channels of Sportsnet, the Canadian sports broadcaster owned by Rogers Communications, as is the Blue Jays franchise itself. (These games are also available to stream for subscribers via Sportsnet Now.)
This has been the case since the 2010 season, when Rogers bought back the remaining package of games that it had been selling to rival broadcaster TSN, in exchange for allowing TSN to air more non-Jays MLB games – following which Sportsnet frequently promoted itself as offering every Jays game.
That said, MLB has always had the contractual ability to pull games away from local broadcasters to accommodate league-wide deals, regardless of team (or for that matter channel) ownership. This is part of the reason why, for example, similar team-owned networks in the U.S., like the Yankees' YES Network or the Red Sox's NESN, have never carried all of their parent teams' games.
But because American channels like ESPN, FS1, and TBS, as well as certain streaming services like Peacock, do not directly operate in Canada, those channels' pacts with MLB – in the rare cases that they do cover Blue Jays games – do not affect the Jays games available on Sportsnet.
However, MLB has been increasingly testing the waters with online broadcasters like Facebook Watch, YouTube, and most recently Apple TV+. In all of these cases, the services operate internationally, and accordingly their exclusive rights have usually extended to multiple countries including the U.S. and Canada.
As a result, any games covered by these international streaming rights deals are not available for broadcast on Sportsnet, as the channel has acknowledged on this support page for Sportsnet Now, and has happened occasionally in past years for streaming-exclusive games on Facebook and YouTube.
To be abundantly clear, Rogers, Sportsnet, and the Blue Jays organization have no influence over which games are selected for Friday Night Baseball. The selections are, to our knowledge, made solely by Apple subject to the terms of its contract with MLB.
At last check, the "early" games in the Friday Night Baseball doubleheader were being called by play-by-play announcer Melanie Newman, analysts Chris Young and Russell Dorsey, and reporter Tricia Whitaker. The game production itself is handled by MLB Network, the organization's in-house media unit (and cable channel).
If you're a regular Blue Jays watcher but haven't watched any FNB games yet, you should probably manage your expectations, as reviews for the announcing have been mixed at best. MLB and Apple seem to have been trying a few off-the-beaten-path things to keep the attention of a wider audience, leading to some more diverse topics of conversation – but the graphics, at least, have been decent.
If you'd prefer commentary with more local flavour, you can tune into one of the Blue Jays' radio affiliates (like CJCL "Sportsnet 590 The Fan" in Toronto) on a regular radio, or the league's MLB Audio streaming package.
One other note: although Apple TV+ is normally a commercial-free service, these games do contain ad breaks at the times you'd usually see them during games, though (at least to date) these ad slots have been replaced in Canada by a "please stay tuned" slide.
So again, to reiterate, the only way to watch the September 16 Orioles–Blue Jays game in Canada – and most anywhere else – is on Apple TV+.
This article was initially published on May 23, 2022. Versions of this article, rewritten to reflect upcoming games and other minor updates, were posted on:
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