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StarDew

NHL Loses Key Decision in TV Rights Lawsuit - Upd 11/14/14

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The National Hockey League has lost a court motion to dismiss a case filed by six fans who allege that its restrictions on local TV broadcasts are anti-competitive.

The case is expected to proceed to trial early in 2015. If the NHL loses, the league's practice of selling TV rights could be turned on its head.

 

Read the entire article HERE.

Edited by StarDew

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If the NHL loses this, it means Devils games can air in South Jersey.

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If the NHL loses this, it means Devils games can air in South Jersey.

not airing devils games in south jersey is ridiculous its the states team..Also has to be negative to the devils in every way imaginable and is why just about everyone in south jersey are flyer fans.

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If the NHL loses this, it means Devils games can air in South Jersey.

Which would be a pretty significant first step in eradicating the Flyers hold on the area.

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Which would be a pretty significant first step in eradicating the Flyers hold on the area.

Exactly.

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If the NHL loses this, it means Devils games can air in South Jersey.

Yes, but it would require the cable/satellite companies in South Jersey to pay for the rights.  They will only do so if it can be profitable for them.  They need enough of a demand for Devils games and the right price.  When I moved to Long Island and got cable in 1986, we had WSBK from Boston and was able to get some Bruins/Celtics games.  Don't remember if it was blacked out when they played a local team. 

 

What this can really help is ending the local blackouts on Center Ice and Game Center Live.  Especially for those living in what I call the dead-zones.  You are too far away to get the team you want on regular cable/satellite subscriptions and too close to get the games on Center Ice/Game Center Live.  There are parts of Upstate NY, and Connecticut that get hit with this for the Rangers, Isles, and Devils.  Not sure on the cut-offs in Jersey.

Edited by Matteau#32

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Which would be a pretty significant first step in eradicating the Flyers hold on the area.

Depends on which parts of South Jersey you are referring.  For the towns that are closer to Philly, it won't.  For the towns that are basically equidistant, it could.

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Depends on which parts of South Jersey you are referring. For the towns that are closer to Philly, it won't. For the towns that are basically equidistant, it could.

Ya I have to agree with this. There are always gonna be some fans that will make the commute but it's always gonna be a majority of Flyers fans down there just because of how close they are to the Philly arenas. Why drive 90 mins each way when you can drive less then 90 mins round trip to Philly. It's just not ideal, especially for people who get out of work around 5 or have kids that need to go to school the next day.

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If they get the games on TV somehow down there, the Devils could market to that area with billboards that say: 'Why be a Flyers fan... When you can be a fan of the team that always beats them'. :P

Edited by MadDog2020

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If they get the games on TV somehow down there, the Devils could market to that area with billboards that say: 'Why be a Flyers fan... When you can be a fan of the team that always beats them'. :P

LOL good idea!

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Yes, but it would require the cable/satellite companies in South Jersey to pay for the rights.  They will only do so if it can be profitable for them.  They need enough of a demand for Devils games and the right price.  When I moved to Long Island and got cable in 1986, we had WSBK from Boston and was able to get some Bruins/Celtics games.  Don't remember if it was blacked out when they played a local team. 

 

What this can really help is ending the local blackouts on Center Ice and Game Center Live.  Especially for those living in what I call the dead-zones.  You are too far away to get the team you want on regular cable/satellite subscriptions and too close to get the games on Center Ice/Game Center Live.  There are parts of Upstate NY, and Connecticut that get hit with this for the Rangers, Isles, and Devils.  Not sure on the cut-offs in Jersey.

 

What I think it means, is that it would require the cable companies in those areas to want to add MSG network to its cable packages, rather than the Devils as such, especially since the Devils have an agreement with MSG to air their games.  So people in South Jersey would be seeing Rangers, Islanders and Devils games, if a Southern Jersey  cable company wants MSG.  If that's the case, it's a lot more plausible that games Devils games will become available in South Jersey. 

 

EDIT:  If the ruling holds, it would also very likely mean that you could get Devils games on regular cable in Southern Florida so long as the Devils are on MSG network.  A lot of Ranger fans in Southern Florida that would probably pay for a package that includes MSG network, which would include the Devils and Islanders.  You could apply it to many other markets as well.

 

So when you think about it, this might be the one instance where a Devils fan might be saying "Let's kind of go Rangers"

Edited by Daniel

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would be nice i the practice of blacking out sports telecasts would end. not every game is going to be a sell out, some people just can't get to games but still want to watch their team. NFL doesn't have that problem, especially around here because the Giants and Jets have been sold out for decades, I've never seen a Devils game blacked out before in 20 years watching but since we don't sell out every game it could be possible and that would suck

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Would be nice to see some Devils games down here with Devils announcers. Watching the Devs-Flyers with Jim Jackson calling the game is absolutely horrible, and I know the guy lol

Edited by jim777

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Would be nice to see some Devils games down here with Devils announcers. Watching the Devs-Flyers with Jim Jackson calling the game is absolutely horrible, and I know the guy lol

I could've sworn someone on here said they live next door to Jim Jackson. Was that you jim?

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Yes, but it would require the cable/satellite companies in South Jersey to pay for the rights.  They will only do so if it can be profitable for them.  They need enough of a demand for Devils games and the right price.  When I moved to Long Island and got cable in 1986, we had WSBK from Boston and was able to get some Bruins/Celtics games.  Don't remember if it was blacked out when they played a local team. 

 

What this can really help is ending the local blackouts on Center Ice and Game Center Live.  Especially for those living in what I call the dead-zones.  You are too far away to get the team you want on regular cable/satellite subscriptions and too close to get the games on Center Ice/Game Center Live.  There are parts of Upstate NY, and Connecticut that get hit with this for the Rangers, Isles, and Devils.  Not sure on the cut-offs in Jersey.

 

wouldn't you be able to get around this by using a VPN? The local blackouts i mean if you watch online?

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I could've sworn someone on here said they live next door to Jim Jackson. Was that you jim?

 

Maybe, but I don't actually live next door to him. My back yard and his are right up against each other. Our wives are tighter than we are, the kids played ice hockey together for a while.

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I didn't read the article fully, but I'm curious what teams these six people follow? Sounds like a major issue regarding a team like the Devils, maybe the Sabres too? Curious about Detroit/Chicago/Minnesota area too.

Edited by DJ Eco

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Maybe, but I don't actually live next door to him. My back yard and his are right up against each other. Our wives are tighter than we are, the kids played ice hockey together for a while.

Gotcha. I knew someone said they lived near him lol.

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I didn't read the article fully, but I'm curious what teams these six people follow? Sounds like a major issue regarding a team like the Devils, maybe the Sabres too? Curious about Detroit/Chicago/Minnesota area too.

 

So far as the broader implications of the case, who the plaintiffs in the case follow probably doesn't matter.  As I understand it, they're challenging a league-wide policy that forbids teams from selling TV rights outside of their territory.  A fan that wants to watch an out-of-market team has to bring the suit as a procedural matter.  So if the plaintiffs here ultimately win, it's possible that there would be an injunction that prevents the league from enforcing the restriction in its entirety, which would mean that, for example, MSG could attempt to sell its NHL packages in other markets, regardless of whether one of the plaintiffs in the case is a Ranger, Devils, Islanders or Sabres fan. 

 

EDIT:  The case is also being brought as a class action, which is a further indication that the particular teams the lead plaintiffs root for are probably irrelevant.

Edited by Daniel

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So far as the broader implications of the case, who the plaintiffs in the case follow probably doesn't matter.  As I understand it, they're challenging a league-wide policy that forbids teams from selling TV rights outside of their territory.  A fan that wants to watch an out-of-market team has to bring the suit as a procedural matter.  So if the plaintiffs here ultimately win, it's possible that there would be an injunction that prevents the league from enforcing the restriction in its entirety, which would mean that, for example, MSG could attempt to sell its NHL packages in other markets, regardless of whether one of the plaintiffs in the case is a Ranger, Devils, Islanders or Sabres fan. 

 

EDIT:  The case is also being brought as a class action, which is a further indication that the particular teams the lead plaintiffs root for are probably irrelevant.

 

Yeah I know, but I'm just curious. A ruling like this would make a huge difference to a few teams with some very noticeable "territory" issues; just curious who's involved.

 

You'll see a lot of lucrative TV deals down South being made related to teams/broadcasts like New York, Toronto, and Montreal. It'd especially benefit an area like New Jersey and Buffalo/Toronto, where I believe there is a big overlap in fanbase allegiances. I'm curious how Anaheim/LA/San Jose are set up too, and especially Detroit/Chicago/Minnesota.

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Yeah I know, but I'm just curious. A ruling like this would make a huge difference to a few teams with some very noticeable "territory" issues; just curious who's involved.

You'll see a lot of lucrative TV deals down South being made related to teams/broadcasts like New York, Toronto, and Montreal. It'd especially benefit an area like New Jersey and Buffalo/Toronto, where I believe there is a big overlap in fanbase allegiances. I'm curious how Anaheim/LA/San Jose are set up too, and especially Detroit/Chicago/Minnesota.

It'll also be interesting to see what effect it would have on small market teams like Arizona or Florida, and perhaps places that are looking for an expansion team like Seattle. The regional exclusivity probably does help those teams maximize their followings. I mean, how appealing would it be for a group that wants to spend hundreds of millions to put a team in Seattle, if it turns out that locals will also get to choose to watch Canucks games? It's especially the case when you consider that it usually takes expansion teams a few years to be competitive on the ice. While it used to be that an expansion team could weather the storm by being the only game in town, it might be less so in the future.

I quickly perused the decision, and am not an expert on antitrust laws, so I can't really speak to the merits. It is important to note though that this judge is notoriously inclined to side with plaintiffs in these kinds if cases and does have a tendency to be overturned on appeal. I believe she was the one that held that the NFL's age limit on draft eligibility in the Maurice Clarett case was illegal, which was overturned on appeal,

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The biggest thing this affects is something like Center Ice and especially GameCenter.  It'd be insane to put any regional sports networks on existing cable tiers out of market unless they charged practically nothing for it, and why would they do that?   But for people who want to stop getting cable because it's an absurdly priced monopoly and would only get GameCenter, it's huge.  Out of market stuff is really immaterial imo.

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The biggest thing this affects is something like Center Ice and especially GameCenter. It'd be insane to put any regional sports networks on existing cable tiers out of market unless they charged practically nothing for it, and why would they do that? But for people who want to stop getting cable because it's an absurdly priced monopoly and would only get GameCenter, it's huge. Out of market stuff is really immaterial imo.

There was a time when out of market regional sports networks were on regular cable tiers. I remember when I could watch Cubs games on Comcast from my parents' house. You used to also get Braves games on TBS. (MLB is also a defendant in the suit). FWIW, the cable companies tried to dismiss themselves from the suit on the grounds that they didn't really have any choice in the matter, since the NHL and MLB requires all of their teams to include regional restrictions in their TV deals. So, there is something to the idea that regional cable companies, or Direct TV would allow out of territory teams onto their cable packages if they were allowed to.

Some cable companies could also probably make a decent chunk of change on the ruling if it holds up, even if it cannibalizes Center Ice or Game Center. I could easily see a cable company in Florida charging a few extra bucks a month to have a tier that includes MSG, YES and NESN.

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There was a time when out of market regional sports networks were on regular cable tiers. I remember when I could watch Cubs games on Comcast from my parents' house. You used to also get Braves games on TBS. (MLB is also a defendant in the suit). FWIW, the cable companies tried to dismiss themselves from the suit on the grounds that they didn't really have any choice in the matter, since the NHL and MLB requires all of their teams to include regional restrictions in their TV deals. So, there is something to the idea that regional cable companies, or Direct TV would allow out of territory teams onto their cable packages if they were allowed to.

Some cable companies could also probably make a decent chunk of change on the ruling if it holds up, even if it cannibalizes Center Ice or Game Center. I could easily see a cable company in Florida charging a few extra bucks a month to have a tier that includes MSG, YES and NESN.

 

Cubs and White Sox games still appear on WGN.  The reason why more stations don't do this isn't because of blackout restrictions, it's because it's not profitable to show random baseball to a nationwide audience.  TBS dumped baseball when they got better content.  I also imagine that WGN doesn't charge 'sports prices' to be included on Verizon - sports are the most expensive thing going on TV these days.

 

I agree that Florida is one place where cable companies would be affected, but Philly?  Or anywhere else, really?  I don't see it.

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Cubs and White Sox games still appear on WGN. The reason why more stations don't do this isn't because of blackout restrictions, it's because it's not profitable to show random baseball to a nationwide audience. TBS dumped baseball when they got better content. I also imagine that WGN doesn't charge 'sports prices' to be included on Verizon - sports are the most expensive thing going on TV these days.

I agree that Florida is one place where cable companies would be affected, but Philly? Or anywhere else, really? I don't see it.

I honestly think in a lot more places than you would think. I could see, for example, Verizon in NYC allowing customers to pay a little extra for NESN to get Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins games. I do think that a cable company in Southern Jersey, i.e. Philly territory, would do the same with MSG, SNY and YES.

EDIT: or you can perhaps do a simple eye test whenever you watch a random game. If you see a lot of the opposing teams fans in the stands at any particular away game, especially one that is far away from the geographic market, it's probably a good indication that there are enough people in that area that would pay something to watch a particular away team's games.

Edited by Daniel

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