How to watch Major League Baseball

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  • The 2021 MLB Playoffs continue with the ALDS and NLDS featuring the top eight teams in baseball.
  • Playoff games are broadcast nationally by ESPN, Fox, Fox Sports, TBS, and MLBN.
  • You can also catch out-of-market regular season games through ESPN and MLB TV.

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The 2021 MLB Playoffs began with the AL Wild Card game between the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox on October 5, and the NL Wild Card game between the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers on October 6.

The Red Sox and Dodgers won their single elimination games, placing them in the Divisional Series against the Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants, respectively. The Giants and Dodgers were separated by just one game in the NL West standings at the end of the season, and the winner of their series is a favorite to win this year’s World Series.

The Chicago White Sox are facing off against the Houston Astros in the other ALDS series, while the Atlanta Braves and Milwaukee Brewers will round out the NLDS round of the playoffs.

Every MLB playoff game will be broadcast nationally by Fox Sports 1, TBS, or MLB Network, but you’ll need to subscribe to a cable provider or live TV streaming service like YouTube TV, Sling TV, or DirecTV Stream to watch them all. 

MLB divisional round schedule

Teams in the divisional series will play a first-to-three wins format, meaning each series can last for up to five games. The next round of the playoffs and the World Series use a first-to-four win format, allowing for seven game series.

Where to watch MLB playoff streams 

MLB playoff games are spread across channels like TBS, MLB Network, ESPN, FS1, and Fox. The World Series will be shown only on Fox. If you don’t have cable you can stream these stations with a subscription to a live TV streaming service.

To help narrow down your options, we compiled the best streaming services you can use to watch the MLB playoffs live.

DirecTV Stream

DirecTV Stream features Fox, MLB Network, TBS, FS1, and ESPN in most of its plans. The cheapest plan with all five channels is the DirecTV Stream Choice plan for $85 a month. The Choice plan also gives you access to several regional sports networks for local regular season games that aren’t broadcast nationally.

DirecTV Stream provides local coverage for 20 of MLB’s 30 teams, according to a spokesperson from the service. You can check to see if DirecTV Stream covers your regional sports network with this lookup tool.

YouTube TV

One of the most comprehensive options for streaming MLB games is YouTube TV. The service costs $65 a month and includes Fox, FS1, ESPN, TBS,and MLB Network, as well as some regional sports networks depending on your area

YouTube TV also includes an option to watch out-of-market games via the MLB TV add-on for an extra fee. This means you can watch a mix of local games, nationally televised games, and out-of-market games all in one place.

Sling TV

Another option for MLB games is Sling TV. Sling Blue ($35/month) includes access to Fox (in select markets), FS1, and TBS. Sling Orange ($35/month), on the other hand, offers live access to ESPN and TBS. You can combine both Sling Blue and Sling Orange for $50 a month. You can also add MLB Network via Sling’s Sports Extra package for an additional $15 a month. 

This combo will get you Fox, FS1, ESPN, TBS, and MLB Network for $65 a month. Please note that Fox only airs in select markets, primarily in major US cities, via Sling TV. 

Hulu Live TV

Hulu Live features several channels with MLB games, including ESPN, Fox, FS1, and TBS. The service costs $65/month ($55/month for your first three months) and includes access to Hulu ‘s entire on-demand library. That said, Hulu Live TV is missing MLB Network.

Fubo TV

Fubo TV also offers a package that will get you most of the channels you need for national MLB games. The streaming service’s Starter plan ($65/month) has over 100 channels, including Fox, FS1, and ESPN. Fubo TV also offers access to MLB Network with its Sports Plus with NFL RedZone add-on for $11 a month. There’s also a few regional sports networks in select areas. On the downside, Fubo TV is missing TBS.

Kevin Webb

Video Game Reporter

Kevin Webb is a gaming reporter based from the New York City Insider Inc. office. He graduated from Morehouse College in 2013 and worked as an Assistant Editor with Darien Times and as a member of the Shoryuken content team prior to joining Business Insider in 2018. Kevin has also been a competitive Street Fighter player since 2007 and will still take on all challengers. Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here. Learn more about how we test tech and electronics.

Ben Blanchet

Streaming Fellow, Insider Reviews

Ben is a Streaming and Home Entertainment Fellow for the Insider Reviews team, where he covers the latest in streaming services along with roundups of popular TVs, speakers, and headphones. He previously reported for The Buffalo News’ Sun newspapers and was an editor at the University at Buffalo’s independent student newspaper The Spectrum. He comes from a background in music journalism and he’s one of the minds behind “More Than A Hit,” a podcast with his brother Brenton where the two talk with music stars from their childhood. See below for some of his work.  Learn more about how our team of experts tests and reviews products at Insider here.

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