Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/10/05 at 08:25 AM ET
NHL to New York television market: Drop dead! Despite a contractual right to instruct OLN to televise all of its NHL exclusives over all cable systems regardless of whether the network is carried on a basic or subscription tier, the league is abdicating. Thus, tonight's Penguins-Sabres game in Buffalo will apparently be blacked out in all Cablevision homes because of OLN's position on a subscription tier. If the league does not intervene within the next week, then next Monday's Rangers-Panthers game at the Garden may also be blacked out by OLN. As first reported by The Post on Aug. 28, the league's contract with OLN states: "Unless the NHL otherwise approves, the right to exhibit OLN games . . . may not be granted on a going-forward basis by OLN/Comcast to any . . . distributor [that carries the games] on a sports tier." When questioned in a series of e-mails whether the league would exercise its right to instruct OLN to allow its games to be seen by the three million Cablevision subscribers in the New York market (and over other affected systems in Buffalo, Phoenix and Dallas), league deputy commissioner Bill Daly repeatedly evaded the subject. Instead, Daly suggested that the issue centered around blackout language that might possibly be contained in the prior contract between Cablevision and Comcast, which owns OLN.
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