TV Answer Man, a friend has DIRECTV and he says you can watch live Chicago Cubs games on the Marquee Sports channel even if you’re not in Chicago. Is that true? I’m not talking about Extra Innings but the Marquee channel has the games live. — John, Marina Del Rey, California.
John, DIRECTV last May began offering the Marquee Sports Network, the regional TV home of the Chicago Cubs, to its entire audience, not just the Chicago market.
However, the satcaster said there were two stipulations:
1. To watch the Marquee Sports Network lineup, you would need to subscribe to DIRECTV’s ‘Sports Pack,” which costs $13.99 a month. That’s in addition to the cost of your basic programming package.
The Sports Pack add-on package includes 40 different sports channels including ACC Network, CBS Sports Network, TVG, The Outdoor Channel, and other top regional sports channels such as AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, NESN, MASN, Fox Sports South, FSN San Diego, and so on.
However, the Sports Pack does not entitle you to watch live professional games on the regional sports channels that are normally blacked out in your market. Which brings me to stipulation number two:
2. DIRECTV said in May that Marquee’s live Cubs games would remain exclusive to the Chicago market.
DIRECTV subscribers outside the Chicago market who subscribe to Sports Pack would get Marquee’s pre-game and post-game Cubs programs as well as shows such as The Reporters, a Sunday morning discussion show with local media members, Cubs Classics, which is full replays of historic Cubs games, and Icons of the Ivy, interviews with great Cubbies of the past.
But not the live Cubs games.
However, in recent days, DBSTalk, an Internet message board, has featured a thread consisting of DIRECTV subscribers who say they are able to watch the live Cubs games on Marquee outside of the Chicago market.
So yesterday I asked a DIRECTV spokesman if the blackout rule had changed. Can you watch the live Cubs games on Marquee on DIRECTV if you don’t live in the Chicago market?
The spokesman reiterated that the live games are not available to Marquee subscribers away from Chicago. They can only watch the non-live Cubs programming I referred to earlier. (The obvious exception here is if you subscribe to the MLB Extra Innings package. That provides out-of-market games. You would need Extra Innings to watch the Cubs on Marquee if you’re outside Chicago.)
If some subscribers away from Chicago are getting the Cubs (without Extra Innings), it’s likely a technical glitch and I wouldn’t expect it will last much longer.
John, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann