Cubs fans get their DirecTV — just in time for home opener
BY SOPHIA BAIRAKTARIS AND STEFANO ESPOSITO Staff Reporters April 4, 2012 3:32PM
James Murphy talks about how workers from DataComm are installing DirectTV passthru boxes at Murphy's Bleachers. This was before a settlement was reached Wednesday night between DirecTV and WGN allowing Cubs games and other WGN programming to be shown via
Updated: May 6, 2012 8:19AM
Tribune Co. and DirecTV announced Wednesday that they’ve reached an agreement, restoring WGN-Channel 9 to Chicago-area DirecTV customers — and just in time for Thursday’s Cubs home opener.
DirecTV customers stopped receiving Tribune stations, including WGN, on Sunday after the satellite provider’s contract with Tribune expired and the two sides failed to reach an agreement over licensing fees.
The agreement covers 23 local TV stations in 19 markets as well at WGN America, according to a statement posted on Tribune Co.’s website late Wednesday.
“We are extremely pleased to have reached an agreement with DirecTV and to return our valuable news, entertainment and sports programming to DirecTV subscribers,” Nils Larsen, Tribune Broadcasting president, said. “On behalf of Tribune Broadcasting, I want to thank viewers across all of our markets for their support, understanding and patience during the negotiating process. We truly regret the service interruptions of the last several days.”
Terms of the five-year deal weren’t disclosed.
In anticipation of the start of the Cubs season, North Side bar owners in particular had been scrambling to find alternative ways to broadcast Thursday’s game, with some using antennas to pick up WGN’s free signal.
At Murphy’s Bleachers in Wrigleyville, co-owner James Murphy was having his TVs hooked up Wednesday to roof-top antennas through an ATSC turner to pick up WGN’s free signal.
John Hallum, general manager of DataCommTV of Bolingbrook, was one of the men doing the work. Hallum said his cell phone has been ringing so much this week — from frantic bar and restaurant owners — that he eventually had to set it to mute.