Q. I live in Henderson, Nevada (next to Las Vegas) and have purchased the MLB package (from DIRECTV) for years. I moved here from Chicago and brought the Cubs with me via DirecTV. I know that the Cubs will now only broadcast on the Marquee Sports Network, and your article indicated an arrangement had been reached with DirecTV to continue broadcasting the games. I contacted DirecTV regarding the continuing coverage of the Cub games, but was told that I would need to purchase the MLB (Extra Innings) package (and) the Marquee Sports Network package to allow me to view all the Cubs games. Can you clarify this for me? — Richard, Henderson, Nevada.
Richard, the new Marquee Sports Network, which will be the exclusive home to Chicago Cubs game broadcasts, launches on February 22, 2020 with the Cubs playing the Oakland Athletics in a spring training contest.
The channel replaces the previous providers of the Cubs games, which includes NBC Sports Chicago and WGN. Marquee, which is owned by the Cubs and the Sinclair Broadcast Group, will feature 150 live Cubs games as well as pre-game and post-game shows, and other Cubs-related programming.
Marquee will be a regional sports network, meaning the Cubs broadcasts will only be available on pay TV services in the team’s market which includes Illinois, Iowa and Indiana.
I don’t know why DIRECTV would tell you that you needed an additional sports package that included Marquee to watch the Cubs on Extra Innings. (DIRECTV offers an add-on $13.99 a month ‘Sports Pack’ that includes programming, but not the Cubs on Marquee, from regional sports channels.)
I will be charitable this morning and suggest the customer service rep simply goofed rather than engaged in a foolish exercise to get you to pay more money. (It’s also possible that you misinterpreted what the rep said, or the rep phrased the answer poorly. I don’t know.)
But the Cubs on Marquee should not be blacked out on Extra Innings or MLB.TV if you live in Henderson, Nevada (or other markets outside of the Cubs market.) If you don’t believe me, check out this blackout guide at MLB.TV. If you type in a zip code from Henderson, Nevada, you’ll see that the teams blacked out in your area are the following:
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
The Cubs obviously are not on the list.
(Note: Cubs games with the Dodgers, Padres, Giants and Diamondbacks will be blacked out in the Nevada area because those four teams are on the list.
It’s possible the Cubs-Diamondbacks and Cubs-Padres games will be available via the $13.99 Sports Pack. But it depends on your zip code.)
I have previously written here that DIRECTV’s customer service has declined since AT&T purchased the company in 2015. I have even said I am not sure you can trust what they say.
So my advice to you is to subscribe to MLB.TV instead of DIRECTV’s Extra Innings plan. MLB.TV is guaranteeing you that you will be able to watch the Cubs in your area while DIRECTV apparently won’t (unless you needlessly pay another $13.99 a month).
Richard, hope that helps. Happy viewing!
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— Phillip Swann