Friday, May 13, 2011

Letting go [when stupid idiots try to ruin your viewing experience]

Sorry for the late posting. I have had some problems with my internet access the last few days.

I have trouble letting things go. This would explain why, after 40 minutes on the phone with DirectTV, I was still demanding that they show me the Brewers-Padres game on Tuesday night.

When I turned to channel 669-1, DirectTV told me that the game was blacked out. It made no sense. FS Wisconsin was broadcasting the game; the game was being shown in Wisconsin; there is no reason that it should have been blacked out for a viewer in Minnesota. So I called DirectTV because I thought that they would quickly see that this was an error and un-blackout the game.

“They” would not authorize DirectTV to show the game outside of Wisconsin, the service reps said. When I asked for further clarification, I was told that the Milwaukee Brewers organization did not authorize the game to be shown outside of Wisconsin because they did not sell enough tickets. I asked the reps to think about that and see if it made any sense. The only people who could be reasonably expected to purchase tickets were being shown the game but the rest of us were not allowed to see it because ….? I was just told over and over again that the Brewers blacked the game out due to lack of sales and that if I had read the fine print in the Major League Extra Innings package I would have known that all games are subject to blackout rules.

“But there is nothing about this game that would trigger a blackout rule,” I said. “This is a problem between DirectTV and FS-Wisconsin. Can you please figure out what the problem is and fix it instead of feeding me a load of garbage that we both know isn’t true?” And then they repeated that the Brewers wouldn’t authorize DirectTV to show the game because of lack of ticket sales. “But there is no blackout rule in baseball regarding ticket sales and out-of-market viewers,” I said.

Sensing that I was at a loss, Seth took over the call. “If it were based on ticket sales,” Seth said to the rep, “then how would you ever show a Pirates or Marlins game?”

When no one would help him, he hung up on them and threw the phone on the couch. So I called back and tried again. Same story with the new rep only she sounded like she was four. When I got to the part where I asked why the Brewers, who are already paying to broadcast the game, wouldn’t want to make it available to even more fans (who wouldn’t buy tickets anyway because they are in other STATES), she wouldn’t answer me. In fact, when I asked if she was still listening, she started yelling at me. When I suggested that she look up DirectTV’s blackout rules on its website, she told me she didn’t have a computer. (Earlier a different rep told Seth that they didn’t have any TVs in their offices so he couldn’t see if he could get the game there.)  

I finally gave up with the stupid, baby talking rep. I may have made a few parting shots to the effect that everyone at DirectTV was useless and that they were too stupid to do anything except read off of their non-existent computer screens.

In case you are wondering, here is the “fine print” from the DirectTV Extra Innings website regarding blackout rules.

If you live in a ZIP code that is within a Major League Baseball team’s territory, that team’s games will be blacked out on MLB EXTRA INNINGS® but will generally be available on your local regional sports network, cable network or over-the-air affiliate station. Blackouts protect the local rights holders who arrange separate distribution agreements for their exclusive territories. 

In addition, because of the national exclusivity of both ESPN and FOX, there are no games available for distribution via this package on Saturday during the day or Sunday at night.

Brewers 8, Padres 6
Game played 5-10-11
Black-out worthy Attendance 22,861


  1. The Blackout rules in general are a joke. Why block out a fan based on where you live. Dont the people who pay for the ads want as many viewers as possible to see them.

  2. I am in New York and paid for the MLB Extra Innings package. I tried to watch the game as well. That game was not even listed in the MLB channel range. I spent at least an hour on the line with DirecTv as well, and I also called Fox Sports Wisconsin to verify they did not prevent anyone from carrying the game. The only thing I can think of is that the Padres had some agreement with a cable company that gave them national rights.
    I sent an Email to MLB asking who had the rights to the game, but got nowhere.

  3. I just woke up my roommate because I was giggling at this so loudly. I can just imagine your end of that phone conversation.