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If you take a look at the list of additional charges that appear on a DirecTV bill, alongside items like DVR rental you’ll also find a “Regional Sports Fee”. But just what exactly is the Regional Sports Fee? Essentially, it’s a fee that you pay on top of your basic TV package deal. This gives you access to locally based sports coverage/channels in your area. This means you’ll be able to follow your local teams — like the Chicago Bulls basketball games, for instance, if you live in the Chicago area.
DirecTV has been charging this “hidden” Regional Sports Fee since 2012. Add-on fees like this are common across TV providers in the US and can cause consumers a nasty shock if they sign up for contracts unaware that they’ll be charged extra additional fees come bill time. However, the practice is well known and is not against any laws.
You should use DirecTV’s Regional Sports Fee finder to see how much your regional sports fee could or should be each month. You will need to enter your ZIP code to discover what your fee will be. For instance, I put in Elk Grove Village, Illinois’ ZIP code (60007) and the results returned $5.83; working out to an extra $69.96 a year. For this, you’ll receive the NBC Sports Chicago channel which covers the Blackhawks, Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox.
If I head over to Beverly Hills, California (90210), I get a fee of $7.29, with channels Spectrum Deportes and Spectrum SportsNet (both covering the Lakers), FSN West (covering the Angels and the Kings), and Prime Ticket (covering the Anaheim Ducks and the Clippers).
If you lived in Scottsdale, Arizona (85256) you’d get a $0 monthly charge, with the FSN Arizona channel that covers the Coyotes, the Diamondbacks and the Suns).
As recently as March this year, DirecTV was pinged by Consumerist for charging customers varying prices for regional sports channels, regardless of the actual channels received. Fees were varying by ZIP code and customers were, at that point in time, being charged anywhere for $0 to $7.29 per month extra for regional sports channels. While this isn’t totally surprising, what is surprising was that neighboring suburbs, receiving the same regional sports programming, were being charged varying prices.
DirecTV assures that they have now straightened this out and have adjusted fees around the country accordingly, however, if you are still concerned that you might be getting charged differently to the ZIP code over, you should plug in the codes and double-check.
The reason that some ZIP codes still receive some regional sports included in their channels package but don’t attract a fee on their bill is due to agreements that DirecTV would have in place with the owners of these regional cable companies.
If you are after a $0 Regional Sports Fee because you don’t actually want to watch any regional sports, then you might like to ask after a DirecTV package which doesn’t include regional sports. At the time of print, it’s not known whether DirecTV still offers the Preferred Xtra package, which was available but hidden for consumers at the start of 2017, however, this package did not include any regional sports. Call DirecTV to find what packages, if any, come without it.
Where you live and what is actually on broadcast TV dictates what regional sports team you’ll be able to watch. Generally, you’ll be able to watch the local football, basketball, baseball, and ice hockey teams (where these exist).
You may not be receiving any regional sports, particular games, teams, etc. because DirecTV does not own the rights to broadcast them, does not have any agreements in place with the regional sports broadcast network, or the games are simply not broadcast at all. For more information, you may enquire with DirecTV and/or find out your team’s regional broadcast network in your area and check with them.
College sports teams are not covered with your regular regional sports. To gain access to college sports channels you will need to sign up for DirecTV’s Sports Pack, which I cover in this article.
If you follow an out of city or out of state team, you’ll need to add an additional sports package, such as the NBA League Pass. Check out our section “What Channels Are Offered In The DirecTV Sports Pack?”.
DirecTV’s sports package does not include the NFL Sunday Ticket. The NFL Sunday ticket broadcasts every live game out of market on each Sunday of the season. If you want to get the NFL Sunday Ticket you’ll need to select it as an extra add on.
If you only follow one sport, then you might be better off choosing a different add-on other than DirecTV’s sports package. While you get regional games from other areas of the country, these are across all sports. If you follow basketball, you might like to check out the NBA League Pass instead. If baseball is your flavor, look to MLB Extra Innings. For hockey, there’s NHL Center Ice, soccer with MLS Direct Kick, or Fox Soccer Plus or International Soccer for if you follow international soccer leagues.
If you really like sports, and you’re not just looking to watch your regional team and a smattering of updates from ESPN, etc., then picking DirecTV’s sports package is going to open you up to a whole lot more viewing. Being able to view all your favorite sports all the time is a boon for sports fans. However, if you only follow one sport you might be better suited to something else, like the NBA League Pass.