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Policy on NHL broadcasts

Policy on NHL broadcasts

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Registered: ‎11-10-2013
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Having signed up for Verizon FiOS last January, I was excited when I was able to get coverage of the New York Islanders last season when they were broadcast on MSG+2, a channel I was unable to receive when I was a Time Warner Cable subscriber. Finally, I would be able to watch games that were broadcast on the regional overflow channel that for years I wasn't able to get!

 

Last season was great for Islanders coverage, as it seemed that blackout rules were relaxed in the best interests of making fans happy from the extended lockout. This season however, I have been unable to watch the New York Islanders when they are broadcast on MSG+2, as what has occurred instead is a simultaneous broadcast of the programming feed of MSG+ on MSG+2. To understand my frustration, you need to know that I live in an area that falls under a particular set of conditions that make the inability to watch New York Islanders games that much more frustrating. I live in the Syracuse metro region, an area that is over 250 miles away from New York City. I am however still subject to "home market" restrictions for the 3 NYC metro teams. What that means is that I should have a "local channel" available to me to watch the game when it is broadcast.

 

However, I also live in the area that is claimed by the Buffalo Sabres. Any time the Buffalo Sabres play, any of the 3 NYC metro teams are blacked out of coverage on FiOS. This is illustrated by the NHL zip code coverage page of the website. This is for Game Center subscribers hoping to find out what games they may be blacked out from due to local broadcast restrictions. (http://www.nhl.com/ice/ziplookup.htm?q=13090)

 

So when Buffalo is playing, I can't watch the Islanders on FiOS, nor can I watch them on the NHL Center Ice package offered by Verizon, because yet again, I fall under "home market" restrictions, which specify that I should be watching them on my "local channel", even though those channels are blacked out, or are showing simultaneous broadcasts of the Buffalo sabres games. (yes, that means the Sabres can be broadcast on 4 channels).

 

When Buffalo isn't playing, then shouldn't I technically be able me to watch any of the 3 NYC metro hockey teams, being not subject to he blackout policies for Sabres games? But yet again I have been foiled by Verizon FiOS. What I have been treated to in the past week alone are simultaneous broadcasts of the New Jersey Devils games on both MSG+ and MSG+2 when the Islanders were scheduled to play on MSG+2. 

 

I subscribed to the NHL Gamecenter package, and I was hoping that this would allow me to watch Islanders games more frequently, but I am subject to blackout policies due to my location within New York, and the notion that I should have a "local channel" to watch the game on, when I in fact don't have a "reliable" channel to watch the game on. This means I can't watch the Islanders game at all based on where I live. No cable or internet subscription service will provide consistent coverage for games. 

 

I am an increasingly dissatisfied Verizon FiOS customer and I want to know what I can do so I can watch watch more than the 20 or so Islanders games that may available during a season when there are not schedule conflicts with Buffalo or the 2 other NYC metro teams. What are my options?

 

Thank you

 

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