It’s October, which means the leaves are changing, scary movies and TV shows are being watched and the hunt for the World Series is on as the 2021 MLB playoffs are here. After a thrilling baseball season that came down to the final day for a number of teams securing their playoff spots, we have 10 teams vying for a championship and numerous ways to watch all of the action.
After the NL and AL Wild Card Games, the League Division Series are officially underway with the following matchups:
Read on for the complete 2021 MLB playoff schedule that we know so far, as well as how you can watch all of the games.
2021 MLB playoff schedule
* denotes “if necessary”; ** denotes time subject to change based on other series conclusion
Red Sox 4, Astros 5
Red Sox 9, Astros 5
Dodgers 2, Braves 3
Dodgers 4, Braves 5
Astros 3, Red Sox 12
Braves at Dodgers, 5 p.m. ET, TBS
Astros at Red Sox, 8 p.m. ET, FS1
Astros at Red Sox, 5 p.m. ET, FS1
Braves at Dodgers, 8 p.m. ET, TBS
Braves at Dodgers, 8 p.m. ET, TBS*
Red Sox at Astros, 8 p.m. ET, FS1*
Dodgers at Braves, 5 p.m. ET, TBS*
Red Sox at Astros, 8 p.m. ET, Fox or FS1*
Dodgers at Braves, 7:30 p.m. ET, TBS*
World Series Game 1, TBD, Fox
World Series Game 2, TBD, Fox
World Series Game 3, TBD, Fox
World Series Game 4, TBD, Fox
World Series Game 5, TBD, Fox*
World Series Game 6, TBD, Fox*
World Series Game 7, TBD, Fox*
How to watch the 2021 MLB playoffs in the U.S.
The 2021 MLB playoffs will be split among a handful of networks. As signaled above, games will be played on ESPN, TBS, Fox, FS1 and the MLB Network. So, how can you make sure that you are able to watch all the playoff action no matter where it is being broadcast?
The first game of the MLB playoffs is the only one that will be played on ESPN, though the sports network is going all-out in its coverage for the classic matchup of Yankees vs Red Sox. Pre-game coverage will start at 5 p.m. ET on ESPN2 before moving over to ESPN, where the main game broadcast will air starting at 8 p.m. ET. A Statcast-driven alternative broadcast will air simultaneously on ESPN2.
As a cable network, all of ESPN and ESPN2’s consumers who are traditional pay-TV subscribers will need to double check that their plan includes ESPN and ESPN2 (most do), while live TV streaming services including Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV all carry both networks. All programming for the game will also be included to watch in the ESPN App or on the ESPN website, though you do need a subscription to one of the above mentioned services to access it.
TBS is the second network carrying games, hosting the entire NL slate until the World Series. Like ESPN, TBS is a cable network, so pay-TV subscribers must double check that their service includes the channel, but again, TBS is a pretty basic component in a majority of packages and is available on Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. TBS also has its own app for viewers with access to their channel to watch the games through on either their mobile devices, TV devices (Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Xbox and Google Chromecast) or through its website, TBS.com, on a computer.
FS1, or Fox Sports 1, is the cable sports arm owned by Fox and will handle the majority of the network’s AL playoff schedule prior to the World Series. Like ESPN and TBS, it is available in most pay-TV subscription packages (just double check) as well as live streaming services (available on Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV). There is also an FS1 app that viewers can watch the games on.
The last cable channel that will show 2021 MLB playoff games (a couple of ALDS games) is the MLB Network. This is a bit more of a specialty play for sports-lovers, but you can still access it through many pay-TV services, as well as Fubo TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. You can stream MLB Network’s coverage through different devices besides your TV, but you will need to be a subscriber to a pay-TV or live TV streaming service.
Then there is Fox, one of the four major networks and broadcast home for each game of the World Series, as well as a couple other potential marquee games for the ALCS. As one of the major networks, Fox has local affiliate stations in essentially every TV market in the country, so the network is included in all pay-TV packages, can be received via a TV antenna and is available on Fubo TV, Hulu with Live TV, Sling TV and YouTube TV. You will be able to watch games broadcast on Fox through the Fox Sports app as well.
How to watch the 2021 MLB Playoffs in the U.K.
Even though baseball is America’s pastime, any fans of the game over in the U.K. can still tune in for playoff and World Series action. BT Sport will broadcast the games to its subscribers through its ESPN subchannel.
You will need to be a BT Sports subscriber to watch the network’s coverage of the MLB playoffs. A monthly subscription is available at £25.
How to watch the 2021 MLB Playoffs from anywhere in the world
You don’t have to be in the U.S. (or even the U.K.) to watch the 2021 MLB playoffs from first pitch to the last out. MLB has shared all of the international broadcasters covering the games, but if you’ve cut the cord entirely and none of these options are immediately available to you, there’s still the option of a VPN, or virtual private network.
A VPN is designed to route network traffic through a specific set of servers in a specific country, allowing viewers to watch content on an encrypted feed over a computer.
Michael Balderston is a D.C.-based entertainment writer and content producer for What to Watch. He previously has written for TV Technology and Awards Circuit.
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