Finding the Twins playoff opener on TV may turn into its own game — and not a very entertaining one.
The MLB Network has exclusive rights to the team’s initial matchup Friday against the Yankees, which could be frustrating to fans who usually rely on Fox Sports North for season coverage.
Comcast, which serves the majority of cable subscribers in the Twin Cities, only provides the MLB Network to those who pay for the Sports Entertainment package or are part of the service’s Preferred Digital tier or higher. You can still sign up for the Sports package in time for Friday’s game — but it’ll cost you $9.99 a month. The remainder of the best-of-five series will be available on FS1.
Several providers, including DirecTV, DISH Network and Sling TV, are offering MLB Network for free from Oct. 1 to 11; the local Comcast operator isn’t one of them.
MLB, which launched in 2009, has had exclusive rights to two playoff games each postseason since 2012. Its coverage of Game 1 between the Dodgers and Braves last year drew an average of 2.1 million viewers. More than 17.5 million people ended up watching Game 5 of the World Series last year on Fox.
League Championship series games in 2019, as well as the World Series, will air on either TBS or Fox.
Those with access to MLB on Friday will be treated to all-star coverage with Hall of Famer Bob Costas behind the mike, along with John Smoltz and Tom Verducci. Those without can listen in on WCCO-AM, which rekindled its relationship with the Twins two seasons ago, or Skor North on 1500, which will carry ESPN radio’s play-by-play.
“The more difficult it becomes to get the game on television, the more the numbers on radio undoubtedly grow,” said WCCO program director John Hanson.