DIRECTV Now over the weekend incorrectly blacked out at least two Arizona Diamondbacks games on Fox Sports Arizona despite protests from Arizona residents and Fox Sports Arizona itself.
Updated: The blackouts continued Monday night (May 15). @DIRECTVNowHelp told one upset Arizona customer to try using the Fox Sports app to watch the game rather than Fox Sports Arizona on the streaming service.
The live streaming service has experienced recurring problems with sports blackouts since its debut last November 30. Several NFL games were wrongly blacked out on local Fox affiliates one weekend, while MLB and NHL games have been incorrectly blacked out on both regional and national sports channels.
And starting May 11, DIRECTV Now began blacking out Fox Sports Arizona’s coverage of the Arizona Diamondbacks-Pittsburgh Pirates games in the Arizona market.
@directvnow got a no hitter going here in Arizona and it just got blacked out…. bad timing,” tweeted @djonesvi on May 11.
“It started last night around the 5th inning and (Fox Sports Arizona) has been blacked out all day, not just baseball. This is getting ridiculous,” tweeted ‘ZonaPhoto’ on May 12 during game two of the Pirates-Diamondbacks series. (ZonaPhoto lives in Glendale, Arizona where the games should have been available.)
Several other Arizona fans joined in with complaints, and pleas to DIRECTV Now for the blackout to end.
@DIRECTVNowHelp responded on May 12 that the games were blacked out, but did provide an explanation as to why.
On May 12, the Twitter customer service team for Fox Sports Arizona finally took note of the complaints and alerted DIRECTV Now that the blackouts were not necessary.
@DIRECTVNowHelp did not respond directly to the Fox Sports Arizona tweet, but in the early morning hours of May 13, it began telling customers that it was working with the regional sports channel to fix the issue.
“I understand how you feel, we stream from the networks. We are communicating with the network to fix this. ^MishaS,” tweeted @directvnowhelp.
Several customers were not satisfied with that response, saying DIRECTV Now representatives had been telling them in ‘chat help’ forums that it was Fox Sports Arizona’s fault. Furthermore, they said, the DIRECTV Now reps told them that Fox Sports Arizona was not responding to their inquiries.
@DIRECTVNowHelp tells me FSAZ hasn’t responded. They literally tweeted at you earlier that we shouldn’t be blacked out. Shouldn’t be hard!” wrote @SongBird3411.
The DIRECTV customer service team never revealed if the problem had been fixed, but the blackout complaints from customers slowed by game three of the Pirates-Diamondbacks series on May 13. However, some subscribers said they still couldn’t watch.
I have asked AT&T, which owns DIRECTV Now, for an explanation for why at least two games were blacked out, and will report back here if and when I get one.
Update: AT&T has not responded to our inquiry.
— Phillip Swann