Manfred made clear on Thursday at his annual Grapefruit League news conference that, ideally, fans would be able to get any game they want at any time — for all 30 teams.
“I hope we get to the point where on the digital side, when you go to MLB.tv, you can buy whatever the heck you want,” Manfred said. “You can buy the out-of-market package. You can buy the local games, you can buy two sets of local games — whatever you want. I mean, that is, to me, the definition of what is going to be a valuable digital offering going forward.”
Manfred said the blackout concern has become “more acute in the last few years.”
“The blackout issue has been a concern for a number of years. Some of it, maybe a lot of it was built into the structure of the RSN models, when you have an exclusivity that belongs to an RSN. If they don’t get distribution in a particular area, obviously, there’s no games available,” Manfred said. “I think our aggressiveness with respect to stepping in, in the event that Bally can’t broadcast, was driven in part by the fact that we saw it as an opportunity to fix this blackout problem.”