**Update: There is a 2012 version of this post.**
I’m doing some research on the future of TV and found that all our major professional sports, and ESPN, have online packages you can purchase. Each one offers far more capability than you get with cable TV, including a full archive of the season’s games and the ability to watch multiple games at once.
Prices range from $60 – $350 per season for 2011, not a bad deal if you’ve cancelled your cable and need some sports. Also, check back for each new season as the features available continually improve.
Major League Baseball offers MLB.TV which is $120 for the entire season and includes any out-of-market game and, depending on your broadband, up to six games at once. Audio to any game, anytime and a full on-demand archive of all the games.
They also offer an offseason package for $25 which allows you to watch any game of the season and playoffs in full HD and includes next year’s spring training.
The National Basketball Association offers up NBA League Pass for $110-190, with more options at higher prices. The general package includes up to 40 out-of-market games per week, an ability to watch three games at once, DVR-like controls to instant replay your own highlights, and a full archive of the season.
The National Hockey League offers NHL GameCenter for $170 which includes all out-of-market games, DVR functionality for replays and highlights, radio broadcasts, and a new slow motion feature.
The National Football League is the laggard, but Direct TV does offer the NFL Sunday Ticket To-Go for $350. It’s only available you’re “not able to subscribe to DIRECT TV service at your current address.” The package includes all out-of-market games on Fox and CBS, a Red Zone channel which shows the final yards of every scoring drive, and instant stats.
There are also options from the NFL itself, including a $30 package called NFL Game Rewind that includes all past games on-demand from the 2009-2011 seasons, and for $25 NFL Audio Pass which includes every radio broadcast live and on-demand.
On a side note the NFL Network recently tested out a free broadcast of one of their Thursday night games using their NFL ’11 iPad app.
Major League Soccer also has a package called Match Day Live for $60. This includes 221 games, live games on an iPad, HD quality, DVR ability, the ability to watch up to three games at once, archived games, and condensed (20 min) games.
Finally, ESPN offers up an ever-increasing array of video products, including SportsCenter. The more interesting feature is the team and city specific videos they are putting out on individual pages. Think differently by visiting your favorite team, like the Los Angeles Angels or San Diego Chargers, and view your videos directly from there. You can also get regional news at city sites, like ESPN Los Angeles.
You don’t get the full hour of SportsCenter but within 20 minutes you’ve seen all you wanted, and saved some time!