While DirecTV still hasn't settled its differences with Comcast over carriage of SportsNet (sigh), at least Phillies fans will be able to watch the season opener this afternoon on the satellilte service's WPHL-17 feed.
The latter was in doubt until 9 p.m. last night, when DirecTV announced it had made a deal with Tribune Broadcasting for the re-transmission of WPHL and 23 other channels, "just as the baseball season is about to start." Also in the Tribune stable - and blacked out from the DirecTV service since Saturday - are the nationally fed WGN (home of the Chicago Cubs and White Sox), New York's WPIX (the Mets channel) and WDCW in Washingon, D.C. where the Nationals do their thing.
Despite the peace agreement, DirecTV still took shots at the Tribune company, suggesting "it's unfortunate that Tribune was willing to hold our customers hostage in an attempt to extract excessive rates, but in the end we reached a fair deal at market rates similar to what we originally agreed to on March 29."
The satellite service also pondered how "five million American homes" could be "blocked out from their local broadcaster" (thus also denied access to the likes of "Cheaters" and "Maury") and called for a government "examination in Washington, D.C. of the decades old television law that encourages these impasses."
Meanwhile, DirecTV and Comcast continue to "negotiate" over carriage of the latter's Philadelphia SportsNet channel, two years after the legal loop-hole was closed for Comcast to deny access. My thinking is that this issue will never be resolved, until DirecTV gives up its exclusive hold on NFL Sunday Ticket. Even the new Xfinity Live! super sports bar complex in South Philly has had to install 24 DirecTV boxes to keep the customers satisfied, and how annoying must that be to Comcast?
The Phillies opener @ Pittsburgh starts at 1:30 p.m. (pre-game telecast at 1 p.m.) Roy Halliday will be on the mound.