Monday, January 12, 2009

Just for clarification: How the NBA chooses which games to blackout...

From Direct TV:
Blackout Rules for NBA Games

Blackout restrictions apply to all NBA games that are offered on NBA LEAGUE PASS. Such blackout restrictions are designed to protect the television rightsholders in the competing teams' respective home markets. Blackouts are not based on arena sellouts.

Local Broadcasts
If a local over-the-air network has the rights to broadcast an NBA game in its local area, customers in that area will be unable to receive that game via their satellite service. However, they may be able to see the game via their local channels.

Example of How Blackouts Work
The Lakers are playing the Rockets and both teams are broadcasting the game locally — KCAL-9 in the Los Angeles area and FSN SOUTHWEST in the Houston area. NBA LEAGUE PASS subscribers living in the Los Angeles area will be blacked out within the Lakers' over-the-air territory. To see the game, they must be able to receive KCAL. Subscribers living outside of the KCAL coverage area will receive the game via NBA LEAGUE PASS unless they live in the Houston area. Subscribers in the Houston area will be blacked out of the game in NBA LEAGUE PASS, but subscribers can view the game on their over-the-air television station or their local regional sports network (RSN) — included with CHOICE programming and Local Channels.

I'm not so sure it completely works like this though.

For instance, how does it work in a city with no NBA team? My parents live in Huntsville, AL where my Dad is a die-hard New York Knicks fan. However, occassionally he is unable to get a Knicks game on League Pass with little to no explanation outside of the black screen saying "This game is not available in your area." Considering there is NO NBA team within 35 miles, I fail to see how anyone living in an area such as Huntsville (or any other relatively remote city) should not be able to see ANY game going on in the US? In the case of the Knicks, I hypothesize that it has to do with the MSG network's discretion.It's already public knowledge the NBA doesn't black out games due to attendance (unlike the NFL), so why wouldn't a customer in an area with no NBA team affiliation be able to see any NBA game being offered by League Pass? Confusing. It also gets confusing/irritating for me, living in College Station, TX. League Pass here restricts me from seeing any Rockets games. Understood, because my area still falls under the Houston local broadcast control so I can (or should) be able to see it on FSN Southwest. When the Dallas Mavericks play, for some reason, I am not able to get those games on LP due to blackout restrictions as well. I am still not even sure how FSN Southwest works as far as Houston Rockets game broadcasts vs. Dallas Mavericks Broadcast. Is there a separate FSN Southwest channel in Dallas that carries the Mavericks like they do in Houston (Clifton?).What are the exact rules for blackouts? I've read online that NBA fans are furious in Austin because all San Antonio Spurs games are blacked out for them. The weird thing is that the local area Spurs broadcasts are not available in any way in Austin, so most residents would have no other way to follow the Spurs unless they had League Pass. As great as League Pass is, I would love for them to have a uniform set of rules they followed which would allow those not in a NBA team affiliated area to see EVERY game available.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I agree that there is a problem here. I live in Austin & I am a huge Mavs fan but yet I can't watch any Mavs games in Austin on FSN or any other Network unless it's a nationally televised game. The guide shows it's blackout in my area. However I am smack in the middle between Austin & Dallas. I don't really understand the logistics of it.