DIRECTV, MLB Extra Innings, Blackouts, RSNs, and Iowa

Discussion in 'DIRECTV Programming' started by TMan, Nov 12, 2014.

  1. TMan

    TMan Legend

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    Oct 30, 2007
    The recent baseball postseason has sparked my interest in the game, after not paying much attention for 30 years. (I'm 45.) I'm looking to up my access to games next spring and see if my interest takes hold.

    I live in Iowa, one of the few places in the country claimed by six (!) Major League Baseball teams as their home territory: Royals, Cardinals, Twins, Brewers, Cubs, White Sox. With that, of course, comes all the ridiculous blackout restrictions that exist in baseball.

    Let me see if I'm understanding this correctly. Purchasing the MLB Extra Innings package will not allow me to see any of these teams due to the blackout restrictions. Instead, one is required to view them on the appropriate RSN (regional sports network), which one may or may not have available to them from their television provider and/or in their current package.

    In my case, DIRECTV's RSN search tool indicates my RSNs are Comcast SportsNet Chicago (Cubs, White Sox), Fox Sports Midwest (Royals, Cardinals), and Fox Sports North (Twins, Brewers).

    My package doesn't inclue FS North. It is available in the Premier package, or as part of the SportsPack add-on.

    1. Royals games on Fox Sports Kansas City would be provided to me on a 671-x alternate channel as part of FS Midwest, right? Something similar for Cardinals?

    2. Cubs/White Sox would be on CSNC or alternate versions thereof?

    3. If I added the Sports Pack, I would then get Twins and Brewers via FS North?

    4. At first glance, it seems like the Sports Pack adds many out-of-my-area RSNs and thus many out-of-market MLB games, but as I understand it, those games would be blacked out to me on an individual basis unless I'm in the designated home area of one of the teams. Again, in my case, that only seems to apply to gaining FS North in the SportsPack, and thus Twins/Brewers. To see the rest of the games not involving the six teams, I'd need MLBEI because I'm not entitled to see those out-of-market games even if I have these more distant RSNs in my package.

    6. MLB.tv alone would be kinda lame because I'd be blacked out on tablets/phones, but with no means to tune the RSN as one would do with their television. Apparently MLB.tv is now included with MLBEI, but I only see it as a bonus/novelty item for me, not the main means of viewing games.

    7. Some games would still be subject to additional blackout intricacies, such as being on a national Fox or ESPN broadcast, local broadcast, etc. But then I'd have access to Fox and ESPN via my normal DIRECTV package.

    Am I missing anything? I'd love to hear comments from baseball-loving DIRECTV subscribers in Iowa (or southeast Nevada, or Hawaii) regarding how all these restrictions play out in terms of real-life, day-to-day viewing availability.

    If I have MLBEI and the three RSNs, would I be fully good? If I'm missing FS North, would I still be good for all non-Twins/Brewers games?

    This all seems pretty ridiculous. Way to bring in a new viewer to your sport, MLB.
     
  2. cyclone27

    cyclone27 AllStar

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    Feb 1, 2006
    Pretty much all that you said is correct.

    I have the sports pack and get the Twins, Brewers, Cubs, Royals, White Sox & Cardinals games.

    I have had mlb.tv the last few years & all of those teams' games are blacked out. I've never had EI so I don't know about that part. If I remember correctly from the free EI preview, I think you would be blacked out from the opposing teams feeds & just have to watch it on the RSN (668, 668-1, 671...).
     
  3. evotz

    evotz Active Member

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    Jan 23, 2014
    The blackout rules are a bit ridiculous if you ask me. MLB always says right after the World Series that they are going to look at the blackout rules, but then nothing ever gets done, and it's spring training again.

    As for spring training games, those aren't necessarily all carried, I don't think. I know having Extra Innings won't help you for spring training because it doesn't start until the season starts in April.

    It might depend on what team you are wanting to follow. If you are wanting to follow one of your local teams (one that claims your territory), then the Sports Pack is all that you should need. And you may not even need that.

    I live in Western Kentucky, which somehow the Cincinnati Reds claim that as their territory. I don't know how. The St. Louis Cardinals also claim this territory, which I can agree with. But for me, on the Choice package, I only get Fox Sports Cincinnati. So in order for me to get the Cardinals games, I have to purchase the Sports Pack.

    Being a Cubs fan, the only way I get the Cubs games is the subscribe to the Extra Innings package. But then when they play the Cardinals, I'm out of luck unless I get the Sports Packs too and I have to watch those games on Foxsports Midwest.

    I'm not complaining all that much, because I understand the blackout rules. I do have a small grievance that DirecTV doesn't do regional sports network, I believe they do them by state (at least for Kentucky). All of Kentucky gets the Cincinnati Reds, regardless of where they are at in the state.

    My main grievance is that if you are paying for Extra Innings, you should get all of the games, regardless of regional blackouts. But I believe that it's more of an MLB problem and not a DirecTV problem, though I may be wrong.

    MLB really needs to take a look at their outdated blackout rules and get those under control. And then they need to change the Extra Innings rules so that if you subscribe to Extra Innings you get all of the games, regardless of whose territory you are in.

    One other rumor I have heard is that MLB.tv is looking to change their TV requirement when it comes to local teams. I don't know what this means, and I wouldn't get my hopes up too much because MLB always says they are going to look at blackout rules and they never do. Currently, any regional team that claims territory in your area, those games aren't viewable on MLB.tv. So unless the rules change, then that really won't help you.

    I do agree with your premise though. MLB is always complaining about how they are losing viewers and losing interest with the public. The fact that they have stupid blackout rules doesn't help in this matter. If they want to increase interest in the game, then stop making it so hard to view games. Revamp the blackout rules or better yet, do away with them completely.
     
  4. JoeTheDragon

    JoeTheDragon Hall Of Fame

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    the MLB just needs to cut down on the team zones.

    Or maybe the fan's can win the lawsuit and teams will be able to sell there games to anyone. Or at the very least sell one team plans that let you see all that teams games with no blackouts for that team at all.
     
  5. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Iowa
    Even if you have all the RSNs and MLBEI as I do, you still get hit with blackouts occasionally. I'm not sure if that's supposed to happen or not, but there's not much you can do about it even if it is an error on the part of Directv or the RSN. It is stupid blacking out games in Iowa....where I am the nearest MLB stadium is about a 200 mile drive, I don't think they're helping their attendance when we get blacked out :)
     
  6. TMan

    TMan Legend

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Yeah, the random blackout would be pretty irritating, especially if one believes they subscribe to a channel they'd be entitled to see it on.

    Are there ever games that are truly just broadcast locally, not on an RSN or national network of some kind? Obviously, with the absurd distances Des Moines is from any of the six teams' cities, we're not in the footprint of any local channel (or cable/sat carriage of said channel) that might carry such a game.

    So, to see virtually everything, one needs a cable/sat package with:

    -all RSNs that cover the teams that "claim" one's area. In Iowa, this can be a problem for various cable companies, but at least DIRECTV has all three available if you're at Premier or add the Sports Pack.

    -ESPN, TBS, MLB Network

    -Fox (one's local affiliate)

    -Fox Sports 1

    -And, of course, MLB Extra Innings


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_current_Major_League_Baseball_broadcasters#National_television_broadcasts
     
  7. bjlc

    bjlc Icon

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    I live within 130 miles of the twins Stadium.. and 201 miles from Miller park.. and FS NORTH is my regional sports network.. and I CANT" GET THE TWINS.. but if you live to the north , south, or west of me.. you can get both.. now think about that FSNORTH is MY DESIGNATED CHANNEL and I can't get both.. but other counties in both Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa can.. that's the complete idiocy of the baseball plan..
     
  8. TMan

    TMan Legend

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    Oct 30, 2007
    Do you live near Eau Claire in an area that is designated as "belonging" only to the Brewers? So, even though you have FS North (which carries Twins and Brewers) in your cable/sat package, Twins games are blacked out to you on that channel, yet you can see Brewers games on that same channel. That's pretty stupid.
     
  9. bjlc

    bjlc Icon

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    plus in an area divided by a 50 yard stretch of river.. 55,000 people.. 5000 can get BOTH TEAMS.. but the rest of the 90 % cannot..
     
  10. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Iowa
    LOL! Yes, MLB's team regions are pretty messed up. Iowa is probably the best example of it, but it is messed up all over. Not much we can do about it, other than hope something changes someday.
     
  11. evotz

    evotz Active Member

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    Iowa does seem to have it pretty bad. Portions of Nevada also have it pretty bad.

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/59/MLB_Blackout_Areas.png

    Maybe the new MLB commissioner will finally take a look at this. But I don't think he takes office until January, so any changes for the 2015 season are probably out. The earliest you might see actual movement on this would be in 2016, I would think.

    I read some where that the blackout rules date back to the 1940s, during the radio days, before TV, much less national cable and satellite TVs.
     
  12. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    Iowa
    That actually makes a lot of sense. I imagine at first broadcast rights were sold to a single station, not a "network", and it would of course be a local station. They'd be worried it might keep people from going to the game, so they'd only allow it to be broadcast if they sold out. AM radio can carry a long way, it is easy to imagine listening to a Cubs game on WGN 720 AM in Iowa. Likewise, once they had radio "networks" they might have had an affiliate in Iowa broadcasting them, but if it could be heard in Chicago they'd want to make sure it too was blacked out. Hence the oversized team regions.
     
  13. VegasDen

    VegasDen Legend

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    Jul 12, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
  14. MikeW

    MikeW Hall Of Fame

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    I am dumbfounded by a blackout that has bugged me since I moved to Phoenix. I live 10 miles from Chase field, yet the Padres are blacked out in my zip code. If I travel 1 mile north, I am out of the zone. It seems they blackout any zip code starting with 853xx. This blacks out all of the suburbs west of Phoenix, including their spring training facility. If you live in Phoenix proper, or the eastern suburbs, you're fine. I have submitted questions to MLB and the Padres, yet nobody responds. Luckily, this only applies to MLB.tv. It is quite a sad state of affairs that this must simply be an oversight and somebody with a brain would fix it if they could only be reached.
     
  15. evotz

    evotz Active Member

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    Jan 23, 2014
    I think this article is basically alluding to MLB.TV carrying games for people that live in an team's territory. Being in Western KY, I would be able to watch the Cardinals and Reds games on MLB.TV - the online streaming service.

    But, in order to do stream the games on MLB.TV, I may have to prove that I have a TV subscription that also gets those games. So you still wouldn't be able to cut the cord and get all MLB games. And it's not a given that every team is going to participate in this, teams may elect not to participate in this. And it may not even come to fruition to begin with (there have been a ton of empty promises in regards to MLB's blackout rules over the recent years).

    But when Manfred takes over, the blackout rules might be something that he wants to take a look at. I personally wouldn't expect major changes until 2016 at the earliest.
     

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