What are blackouts when it comes to satellite television? Are they a technical glitch or caused by some other factor? Sports blackouts are a common problem in every distribution service, including cable networks, network TV stations as well as satellite providers. Blackouts are not a technical glitch; rather, some networks are legally required to blackout their viewers because another network has exclusive broadcasting rights in a certain area. Therefore, DirecTV never intentionally causes blackouts, nor does it suffer from poor communication. Rather, the provider has to follow certain restrictions as ordered by various sports leagues or other copyright holders such as the ESPN Channel and TNT Network.
How can you better understand the phrase blackout? It has more to do with copyright law than anything else. If a national broadcasting service has national rights to broadcast a game from a major league such as the NBA, NFL, NHL or MLB. However, this does not mean that you will have to miss the game entirely. There’s not much sense in having a sports package if you can’t watch live games! The situation may merely call for you to channel flip between your sports package channel and another channel that has exclusive broadcasting rights. (With satellite TV you get all of the channels available) Thus, all you have to do is find the broadcasting network, whether it is a cable station like ESPN or ESPN2 or a network like CBS.
Nevertheless, most customers report positive experiences with satellite TV regarding game coverage and only a minimal amount of blackouts. Even if there is a problem with viewing a game, DirecTV offers a backup plan. For example: say a local off-air broadcast channel has the rights to broadcast a game in a specific region; that means customers in the area would not be able to receive the game feed through a satellite TV subscription. However, if a regional sports network DirecTV carries has these broadcasting rights those customers can view the game through a Choice or Sports Pack special subscription.
Some sports packages that might be affected by blackouts include NFL Sunday Ticket, NBA League Pass, NHL Center Ice, ESPN Gameplan, ESPN Full Court, MLB Extra Innings, MLS Direct Kick, Mega March Madness and Setanta Sports. Another reason why some games might be blacked out (though a very rare one) is in the event that the home team fails to sell out the stadium at least 72 hours in advance. Blackouts are sometimes ordered in attempt to protect the home game attendance and assure the entertainment value of a full stadium. In this event, it is likely that the provider will be denied distribution.
However, most sports fans never seem to mind blackouts, either because they rarely deny the viewer access to the game. It’s mainly just a formality of switching over to a station that has the right to broadcast a live event. Blackouts are not technical-in fact, satellite TV statistically performs better than cable television when it comes to clear reception and uninterrupted service.