In this, the age of cord-cutting and streaming services, it can be difficult to figure out how to watch your Seattle Mariners in the Year of Ichiro, also known as 2022. We believe in service journalism here at LL, so we’re here to help break down all your viewing options, including if there are any times when you’ll only have one option, which is not really an option at all [shakes fist in general direction of Facebook games].
First and foremost, you’ll want to pin the Mariners schedule somewhere near and dear to you. I usually track the week’s schedules using the MLB app on my phone, but if you’re going to Opening Day, make sure to snag one of those handy fridge magnet schedules so you can remind yourself of upcoming matches before you stare into the fridge for two minutes, wondering how it can be so full that you can’t fit so much as a paperclip in it, and yet utterly devoid of anything at all you want to eat right that minute.
The prize for being cast adrift far from Mariners Kingdom(e) is that, as a general rule, you’re able to stream all the games on MLB TV without worrying about blackouts (generally: check the blackout zone for the Mariners here). Lucky you, you have options. The first is the single-team package on MLB TV ($120 for the full season, or $25 if you want to go month-to-month). You can stream the games through a variety of devices and platforms. It feels like a steep cost, and it is, but if you think about how many games you’ll watch over the season and work out the per-game cost, it can be as low as a dollar a game. Twenty extra bucks gets you a full subscription and access to almost every game, except the ones that are blacked out in your area, which is nice if you, like me, stream baseball as background noise throughout the day.
Or, you can sign up for Amazon Prime’s newly-launched MLB channel. Like the MLB TV option, you can go monthly with access to all out-of-market games for about 25 bucks, or you can do a single-team yearly pass for about $110.
Out-of-area folks can also proceed with caution to their favorite sports bar and ask if said bar A) has an Extra Innings subscription; and B) would be willing to put the Mariners game on one of their TVs. If you’re a Mariners fan, you probably at least grew up in the Northwest, which means the only thing you hate more than talking to strangers is asking for a favor. I get it. But if you’re new somewhere, this can be a great way to meet other displaced fans! Generally if you’re willing to be a regular who doesn’t cause trouble and tips nicely, you can win over the crustiest bar tend, and since the Mariners have never been good enough to inspire hatred among other fanbases, it’s not like you’re rolling up to a bar in Wrigleyville asking them to put the Cardinals game on.
If you’re within ROOT’s broadcast area, that’s largely what you’re stuck with, which can be a challenge for those without cable (ROOT is also carried on DirecTV, if you have that). However, you can also stream ROOT with fuboTV if you’re in the area (and if you sign up with this link, we get a tiny little commission). Be aware that Fubo does stream with a clear lag, so you might want to turn off notifications on your phone if you don’t want to be spoiled for the upcoming play. fuboTV will also cover you if the Mariners are on ESPN, ESPN2, Fox, FSN, or MLBN.
In-area folks do have the enviable advantage of being able to plan a trip to T-Mobile without prohibitive expenses like cross-country plane tickets, but they have another advantage, as well: a higher concentration of local fans, and you can’t spell “new frands” without “fans”. This year the Mariners announced a new affiliate program called the “Bar League” of regional bars aimed at creating locations where Mariners fans can congregate and be guaranteed at least half the games in said bar will be showing the Mariners games, along with a festive atmosphere and occasional specials, giveaways, promotions, and the like. You can check out the directory here to plan a gathering, or if you own or know of a bar that might want to participate, apply to become part of the program.
Mariners games airing nationally:
The Mariners will make five appearances on FS1: June 25 (at the Angels), July 2 (vs. Oakland), July 23 (vs. Houston), July 28 (at Houston), and August 27 (vs. Cleveland). They will also appear on FOX on August 13 (at Texas), August 20 (at Oakland), and September 3 (at Cleveland). Traditionally, those games have been broadcast on ROOT as well as nationally.
So far ESPN+ has mostly left the Mariners alone (although again, if you’re signing up for ESPN+ and want to toss your hardworking LL staffers a bit of coin, please consider using our ESPN+ affiliate link). Also, so far the Mariners aren’t slated for any Sunday Night Baseball broadcasts on ESPN, although there are dates built into the schedule that could be used on the Mariners if the bigwigs at the network decide our little backwater burg is compelling enough: all dates in June and beyond remain open except for July 3, July 10, and August 21. Matchups are determined at least two weeks prior so we should have a heads-up, at least, if the schedule shifts away from the steady diet of Yankees-Red Sox it’s been.
Now we’re into the weeds, so bear with me. This year MLB announced a new deal with Apple TV+, which will exclusively air two games a week on Friday night, called, creatively enough, Friday Night Baseball. This is annoying because it involves getting yet another paid subscription to a service to access all Mariners games, although the first 12 weeks will be free to watch, provided you have an Apple ID. Thankfully, there’s only one game on the first half of the schedule that involves the Mariners: the Mariners are slated to be on Apple TV+ on Friday, May 6, at home against the Tampa Bay Rays at 6:30. Beware that things could change in the second half of the season if the Mariners are good, as the second half schedule hasn’t been announced yet.
MLB also announced yet another exclusive deal, this time with Peacock, NBC’s streaming service, that will cover Sunday morning games. Thankfully, the Mariners have been left off of that schedule, which is good because if I had to get up at 7:30 AM on a Sunday to put up a game thread I would be deeply grumpy. More pertinently for Mariners fans, and specifically fans of Mariners prospects, Peacock will also be the exclusive home of the SiriusXM All-Stars Futures Game, which previously aired on MLB Network.
Update: MLB recently announced that YouTube will exclusively stream 15 MLB games this season, and lucky us, the Mariners are one of them: Wednesday June 15th’s game vs. the Twins will be a YouTube exclusive game. One nice thing is the YouTube games will be streamed in better quality, a 1080p feed rather than the old 720p with almost double the old frame rate (60fps vs 30), so things should look crisper and less like—well, less like they’re on YouTube. Unfortunately though the “commentary” from YouTube celebrities pinned at the top of the chat will return, and to get live stats, you have to be a subscriber to YouTube TV, although the games themselves will be free to watch.
It stinks out loud that as viewing trends shift, MLB has responded by making the product more fractioned and fractured, rather than solving the key issue that prohibits growing the game: blackouts. Apple TV and Peacock may go the way of Facebook Watch (rest in poo), only to be replaced by other services that continue to make the viewing experience difficult or downright inaccessible. On the other side, MLB has been taking action to combat piracy in recent years, shutting down popular illegal streams (only to have other streams pop up in their place), cracking down on password-sharing, and tightening up their VPN security so people can’t spoof addresses as easily and get around blackout zones that way. The question they really need to be asking, though, is why so many people feel the need to go to these extremes in the first place in order to consume a product that should be readily accessible, and what will happen if and when they decide it’s not worth the effort.