Popcorn popped, soda on ice, comfy seat on the couch ready. You are all set. Now...
Why can't I see the game I want to watch?
From time to time certain sports programming cannot be televised in specific areas. The term "blackout" refers to the channel appearing blank; however, today there is usually a message stating the "program is not available in your area" or alternate programming is shown.
Historically, the primary purpose for this was to protect ticket sales of the local teams. Blackouts now happen for many different reasons, but occur most often to protect local or regional broadcasting rights. While these interruptions are always unwelcome, they are generally out of Armstrong's control. Most blackouts are handled automatically from the program provider based upon your geographic area.
All major sports leagues like Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League divide up the U. S. market based upon geographic boundaries. Cable systems are not built along these same boundaries. If a portion of a system has to be blacked out, everyone in that system is subject to being blacked out. To make it more complicated, each league has different geographic areas and different rules that apply to them.
Ultimately, these blackouts end up being confusing for customers, but in most cases the game is still available to the viewer; just on a different channel. Most times a local or regional channel has the rights to the event, causing the blackout to occur on the national network. While these blackouts are occurring less now than 10 to 15 years ago, they do happen. All blackouts are subject to contractual changes, so what happens this year may change in the future.
Armstrong apologizes for any inconveniences that are caused by a blackout.