April 16, 2007

MLB.com Downloads: An Update

Back on April 5 I wrote about being unable to watch any of the many Red Sox and WBC games I have downloaded from MLB.com over the past four years because the MLB webpage for getting the necessary license no longer exists.

While waiting to speak to someone at MLB, one of the recordings I heard stated that MLB.com would answer any emails within 24-48 hours. So I sent am email at 12:55 pm on April 5. ... That was 273 hours ago. And no reply. (And no surprise.)

I called MLB tonight and was on hold for about 30 minutes. Apparently, they were not experiencing a large volume of calls tonight, because I was not disconnected at the six-minute mark.

The customer service person I spoke with seemed genuinely baffled by what I was telling him. He said it seemed "strange" that I couldn't log in to watch any of the games I had paid for. He said he had not heard any similar complaints.

He went off to talk with a supervisor and returned to tell me that the license webpage has been down for "a few months" and he has "no idea" when it would be working again.

I asked if I could speak with this supervisor. A guy named Jeff explained that the webpage was "broken" and the technical people had hoped to get it working by the start of the regular season, but obviously failed. Jeff said the non-working license page is the reason why MLB.com has not offered any games for sale this season.

That's actually makes sense. I was wondering why games were not being offered. (When (if?) everything is working, will MLB offer games from the first weeks of the season (like Matsuzaka's starts)?)

Will MLB make some sort of announcement when everything is working again? Jeff was pretty sure they would. I am extremely skeptical -- since MLB has made no announcement about the broken webpage. Still, if games can be purchased, MLB will likely want to make that known, so it can start pocketing $3.95 a pop again.

MLB has to do something about the license issue. If the current setup remains, then MLB will have to maintain that webpage FOREVER. If it changes or gets taken down, there will be absolutely no way for fans to watch the games they have paid for. MLB is afraid I will purchase a game and make dozens of copies. They may just have to accept that risk, as record companies do about fans taping albums for their friends.

I told Jeff that even though most fans surely regard the "email reply within 24-48 hours" statement as a huge joke, MLB should stop making that promise. I told him I sent an email (only because I was repeatedly disconnected) and 270+ hours later, there was nothing in my inbox. I'm quite confident that I will never receive a reply.

So I (and hundreds, maybe thousands of fans out there) are stuck with a modest stack of coasters for which we paid $3.95 each.

Any guesses on when MLB fixes this page?


9casey said...

Redsock said:
Any guesses on when MLB fixes this page?

Hopefully before they find all those 80 year old guys Taping those Lawrence Welk albums...:)

Jon said...

What format are these downloaded games in?

redsock said...

Windows Media Audio/Video file.

Example: 090104_anabos_tv_350_drm.wmv

Jon said...

Damn DRM. Theres gotta be a way to convert it to something else.

Justin said...

Saw this TV show where a guy at Columbia University interviews David Stern and Bud Selig in front of students. If I were at that Q&A session, I would ask him why MLB.tv is so poorly managed. Would love to hear his response.

Sarah Gates said...

I'm having a different but also irritating problem with mlb.tv tonight. I didn't get home in time to try to watch the sox game (listened to the tail end of it on the way home from the train and Pap got the last out just as I opened my apartment door) but I was just trying to watch the end of that 13 inning Nats/Phillies game and failed utterly. We only have the 400K package, good enough for my puprposes - at least until I get a slingbox and sling some NESN from some boston area friend's cable box! Whenever I would try to access the 400K links, it redirected me to the 700K and, of course, claimed that I needed to spend more money for that, as I was not authorized for it. The 400K was not accessable at all, on any game I cared to try. (Which was all of them, I was annoyed.) Jerks.

chip said...

does anyone have valid licenses already on their computer for any of the games? I have the same issue and have been doing some research. I found that there is a way to crack DRM, freeing you from the license restriction if you already have a valid license on your PC. Now I'm not one to advocate cracking this stuff, but this is ridiculous. MLB should be ashamed. I'll bet the pirates can still watch their downloaded games. Anyone interested in a class action suit?