HomeTrending MLB NewsEarly Sunday MLB games to air on The Roku Channel

Early Sunday MLB games to air on The Roku Channel

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MLB fans will need one more streaming service to watch games on Sunday afternoons, but at least this one is free.

Per The Athletic, “MLB Sunday Leadoff,” which has called Peacock home the last two years, is on its way to The Roku Channel starting on Sunday, May 19, when the Boston Red Sox visit the St. Louis Cardinals. The package will feature a weekly game for the rest of the 2024 season with start times as early as 11:35 a.m. and as late as 4:10 p.m. ET.

The attraction for Roku is simple, as “MLB Sunday Leadoff” will feature exclusive games that can’t be seen anywhere else, broadcast in a semi-protected time slot with no other MLB contests permitted to start before 1:35 p.m. And it won’t be doing too much of the heavy lifting, as MLB will help produce the broadcasts as well.

On MLB’s side, it appears that Peacock may simply have been outbid for the early Sunday package. The Athletic’s report suggests Peacock wanted to pay only a third of what it had been paying for “MLB Sunday Leadoff” per season over the past two years.

Whether the new deal is a boon for fans remains to be seen. There may be some initial confusion for people who only know Roku for its early physical streaming device, as opposed to The Roku Channel, which is a free ad-supported streaming TV (or FAST) service. It can be watched without a subscription (though you do need a free account), and The Roku Channel’s app is readily available on smart TVs and other devices.

That’s arguably less of a pain point than Peacock was, and since this is one streaming service replacing another, it doesn’t fall into the trend of sports leagues taking on increasing numbers of broadcast partners with little regard for the stress on viewers trying to determine where to watch what (see also: NFL, NASCAR). But there’s no question MLB and Roku might have to do some educational outreach on where to catch the early Sunday games, and they don’t have much time to do it.

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