MLB online chief optimistic on relaxing blackouts

NEW YORK (AP) The head of baseball's online business says an easing of blackout restrictions on games online could come as early as next season.

In an interview this week, Bob Bowman says he's optimistic that a deal could be reached soon with various cable operators, channels and ballclubs. The catch is that even with an MLB.TV subscription, which starts at $20 a month, fans will also need a cable or satellite TV subscription.

Currently, games involving hometown teams are blocked online. That's because television channels pay millions of dollars for rights and don't want to lose audiences to online and mobile services such as MLB.TV.

Bowman says parties still need to work out ''the look and the feel of it, the marketing of it, the branding of it, economics.''

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