The term blackout is not a word that Buffalo fans are ignorant off. For the past ten years the Boring Bills (which replaced the Bickering Bills) have left fans scrambling for alternative feeds because the product on the field has people wondering how it is worth spending big dollars to freeze in order to watch their team get manhandled by bigger and better squads.
For Buffalo Sabres fans however, the term blackout is not something we are used to. Tonight at midnight, Time Warner Cable Customers joined their neighbords who had Dish Network as unable to watch MSG programming.
The Buffalo Sabres fans join the fans of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New Jersey Devils, and New York Islanders as cities that will be blacked out from watching any of their games on MSG – so long as they have Time Warner Cable. Fans that made the switch will become very popular amongst their friends – as people will be scrambling for place to catch the game action.
Tonights blackout is just another reason why the conglomerate that is MSG has gotten too big for it’s britches. I am not saying that MSG is completely at fault here, but the options for watching Sabres games in the Buffalo area are now down to Direct TV and Verizon Fios. If we read in the news anytime soon that one of those networks are being pushed into a shouting match over price with MSG – that will leave one television carrier with access to the Buffalo Sabres. Id’ be interested in seeing if MSG has any holdings with Verizon or Direct TV.
It is also a sign of the times that it might be a good thing for Pegula to invest in next – the return of a local sports channel similar to the old Empire Sports Network. We have no problem filling First Niagara Center – so a gift to the Sabres Nation would be to bring in our own television cameras and tell MSG exactly where they can put their feed.
A quick check of MSG – Time Warner has a continuous feed going saying that MSG has pulled their feed and that switching is an option – but not a solution, that every television provider is subject to station blackouts – Referencing the fact that MSG pulled their feed from Dish last year in a similar fashion.
If Terry Pegula does not want to approach the business end of the deal of starting his own television station – Ted Black and company may want to consider elevating the situation to a local channel that has the less likely-hood of a blackout by Time Warner Cable or the network itself.