OLN does not have the contractual right to blackout Cablevision customers in New York, according to the New York Post. Last week, I blogged that subscribers could be blacked out in areas where OLN is on a digital tier. OLN would have been the exclusive rights-carrier, while the local broadcast would be blacked out. NY Post:
"According to sources with access to the contract between OLN and the NHL, the specific language granting the right to black out games that do not appear on basic extended cable applies only "on a going-forward basis."
This is terminology in the cable business legally understood to mean any future agreements that might be struck between OLN and new cable system carriers.
Beyond that, the contract explicitly gives the NHL the right to approve the telecast of any game over any cable system.
That's regardless of whether the game would or would not appear on a subscription sports tier package.
"Unless the NHL otherwise approves, rights 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 . . ." the contract reads."
There is still no official statement from the league or OLN that they won't be blacked out. Still, this is good news for hockey fans not only in the NY area, but also Buffalo, Phoenix and Dallas who would have faced similar blackouts.
Emerick joins OLN: Phil over at The NHL Is Back reported that OLN has added a big name, Mike (Doc) Emerick, to be the network's lead play-by-play announcer. Emerick will also share broadcasting duties with John Davidson at NBC. Davidson is reportedly negotiating with OLN, per The New York Post. (Note: In the article, The NY Post referred to Emerick as a "play-by-player." Sounds funny, doesn't it?)
It's great to see OLN signing veteran hockey talent to its broadcasting crew; it adds instant credibility. But personalities alone won't sell the broadcast. OLN/Comcast must search out the best cameramen and crew to give great angles of the game. No more goals missed because of a long commercial or poor angles cutting the view, which was commonplace on ABC and ESPN, and still is on some of the Fox Sports Networks.