If you recall correctly, Rogers sponsored MLB Network’s bid with the CRTC to be approved for Canadian carriage and the channel was launched in January of this year. Rogers subscribers in Ontario had access to the network from day one. Flashforward ten months later and this hasn’t changed. Bell, Shaw, et al. have yet to add the channel to their lineup. When I asked a Bell rep earlier in the season about it, they gave the following response:
Whether this is actually the reason remains to be seen. Other fans wanting the channel have speculated that MLB Network is asking for more money than Bell, Shaw, etc. are willing to pay for a sports channel that is only really relevant six months a year and features 5–10 live games a week. One can only presume Rogers is paying a significantly cheaper carriage fee as an MLB rights holder and/or due to their sponsorship of MLB’s application.
As for tonight’s inability to watch the game, it seemed to sneak up on most. Sportsnet has constantly advertised that they are they exclusive home of the postseason in Canada. For numerous years gone by, Sportsnet has shown every playoff game every year, so why would this season be any different? MLB Network has had exclusive games in the US before, but this has never mattered here. In Sportsnet’s announcement of their MLB rights renewal and MLB Network launch, no mention was made of MLB Network carrying postseason games or that Sportsnet were no longer exclusively carrying playoff games.
If you want to actually watch the game, there’s the obvious of going to a bar or a mate’s house who has Rogers. You could spend $5 and signup for MLB’s Postseason.tv streaming service, though the information on their webpage gives no clear indication if the game is available for Canadians to watch blackout-free. I suggest First Row. If you’re one of those people that have morals, just remember, it isn’t illegal streaming if there is no legal way to actually watch it.*
Sportsnet is more than capable of carrying the game tonight on their plethora of channels. They have pre-season hockey on the four regional networks as well as SN One. SN 360 is showing UFC all night. For those with French-language channels, TVA Sports is carrying the game.
* Not a lawyer. Not real legal advise.
Dan — @SportsOnCdnTV