Orioles games just got significantly more expensive to watch starting in 2024

Baltimore fans are going to have to pony up to watch Orioles games going forward.

Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias speaks to the media
Nov 7, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Baltimore Orioles general manager Mike Elias speaks to the media / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Just like every team in the league, the Baltimore Orioles have had their broadcasts impacted by the wild shifts taking place in the sports TV industry. While the Orioles have been largely insulated from the Diamond Sports bankruptcy that has impacted the TV rights for half the league, getting Orioles games in front of the Orioles fans that want to watch them with the TV landscape changing so much has been anything but easy.

Issues with TV rights are not new to Baltimore. When the Nationals moved to DC back in 2005, the Orioles quickly were embroiled in a dispute with MLB and the Nationals over TV territorial rights. That dispute has been partially resolved as of last year, but the Orioles-controlled MASN network (which also airs Nationals games) is still making headlines for other reasons these days.

MASN's agreement with Comcast Xfinity to include MASN in their cable package was set to expire at the end of February. While the two sides agreed to an extension in negotiations, things were very much up in the air until Xfinity agreed to air the network, placing MASN in their Ultimate TV package. Bottom line, that means watching Orioles games is going to cost cable watchers $20 more a month starting in 2024.

Orioles' TV price increase could be a sign of things to come across MLB

MASN viewers are ultimately going to have to decide for themselves if the price increase is going to be worth it to them. For those that already have the cable tier below MASN's new tier (termed Popular TV), Comcast is offering a promotional deal for existing customers that will give them the upgraded package for no additional cost for the first three months, then at a discounted $10 upcharge for the next three months before going to the full $20 extra after that.

Forcing fans to pay up even more to watch Orioles games flat out stinks, but it could be a sign of things to come for the entire league. The RSN business model for TV is outmoded when so many fans are opting for streaming options, and the Orioles' situation is unique in that they have to share their RSN with the Nationals. As these TV rights start shifting to new/different business models, viewers are going to have a lot of narrow options to watch the content they want, and will have to pick and choose the content they want to keep watching.

The Orioles, MASN, and Comcast are betting that their baseball offerings are going to be able to entice enough viewers at that higher price point. How well that pans out, as well as how many other streaming services end up getting access to MASN, will be important to monitor going forward. Their gamble may end up being right, given how good the Orioles are expected to be for the foreseeable future, as well as the Nationals' overload of young talent.

Whether or not that strategy will work for the rest of the league has yet to be determined.

Of course ... there is one final alternative, thanks to FuboTV, which expanded their live coverage to include MASN across seven states on Tuesday. Hope springs eternal, the same way it does at Camden Yards.

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