DirecTV’s First Pitch Is a Swing and a Miss


The Fox Sports West 2 promotion was going better than anyone had expected.

At the ABC Entertainment Center in Century City and four other Southern California locations Tuesday, fans were lined up by the hundreds to get free T-shirts, bottled water and Cracker Jack before settling down to watch the Dodgers’ season opener via Fox Sports West 2 on jumbo screens.

All 1,000 T-shirts at each of the locations were handed out by game time.

Only one problem. No picture or sound from Dodger Stadium appeared on the screen.

DirecTV, which had agreed to provide the feed, was experiencing technical problems that affected most of Southern California.

A DirecTV spokesman said an “anomaly in our computer system” caused the “unfortunate mistake” that blacked out 22 minutes of the telecast, and that efforts are being made to ensure it doesn’t happen again.


By the start of the bottom of the first, everything was squared away, but by then the crowd at Century City had thinned to about 400.

Of course, many had to return to work after their lunch break, but some left out of frustration.

And frustration was what had brought many of them to the big-screen locations in the first place. It stemmed from so few Southland cable systems offering Fox Sports West 2.

Stephen and Donna Harris, who moved from Philadelphia to Sherman Oaks six months ago, were at the Century City location to watch their beloved Phillies.

“Coming from Philadelphia, we’re spoiled,” Stephen Harris said. “All the home games are televised locally.

“I didn’t even know about the problem with Fox Sports West 2 until I read about it in the paper this morning. I called my cable company, TCI, and was given a number to call the corporate office and leave a message on voice mail. I did it, but thought that was a pretty bad way to handle it.”


Jack Edwards of Woodland Hills, a certified public accountant who works in Century City, said he had also called his cable company, Time-Warner, Tuesday morning and the employee he talked to blamed the problem on Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

“The lady said Murdoch doesn’t care about making money, he’s only interested in power,” Edwards said.

Nearly all of those questioned at the Century City location expressed frustration toward their cable companies, saying they would be more than willing to pay extra to get Fox Sports West 2.