NFL Network Blackout Policy
I tuned in to the NFL Network a few minutes before 10 Eastern to watch the preseason opener between the Dallas Cowboys and San Diego Chargers only to find the game blacked out. Given that I don’t live in either the Dallas or San Diego media markets, I thought it was odd.
It turned out that the Washington Redskins, whose media market I do live in, were playing in the slot ahead of the Cowboys-Chargers game and, by rule, it was blacked out on the NFL Network to force fans to watch the local affiliate’s commercials. So, I found the Redskins game and, sure enough, it was running late. At 10, I flipped back over and NFL Network was still blacked out. When the clock struck 0:00 on the Redskins game, I flipped back over to NFL Network and it was still blacked out.
They finally turned the game on halfway through the first quarter. Given the nature of preseason football, that meant that I missed every play involving the starting offense.
What on earth was NFL Network thinking? Pre-empting the best part of a game featuring the most popular team in the sport in order to show garbage time for the 5th string players in another game? Seriously? And then compounding the error by continuing to black out live action to cover, what, Joe Theismann blathering on about a game the viewer just saw? Really?
This, while they’re trying to get fans to put pressure on cable stations to carry their package? What’s the point of having the channel if they’re not actually going to show the games they carry?
UPDATE: The game coverage was pretty bad, too. I know it’s preseason but, still, it’s mighty annoying to have inane chit chat with Ladainian Tomlinson going on in the second quarter while we’re missing live game action. And I say that even though the Cowboys were pretty awful after the first couple of series. Which, of course, I didn’t actually get to see.