The NHL's blackout restrictions for both GameCenter Live and Center Ice are extremely vague and frustrating. Everyone who's tried to travel and take their subscription with them never quite knows if they'll be able to watch their game or not. Because of this, a map of each coverage area would not only be useful, but also somewhat interesting since it would show just how large of a market each team reaches.
So, naturally, there isn't one to be found anywhere on NHL.com.
But don't worry, that's what MHH is for! I decided to sit down this weekend and start plugging zip/postal codes into the GameCenter blackout finder and interpolating the areas on a map. The result is not 100% accurate, but it's at least a pretty close approximation of each team's blackout area.
Some interesting takeaways:
- There's no wonder why the NHL is campaigning to get a team in Seattle. While Washington and Oregon receive some games from San Jose and Vancouver, neither have enough coverage to justify an NHL blackout. If the league wants to "grow the game", given the population and climate of the area, Seattle/Portland should be Target #1.
- Hilariously, Hawaii is under both the Kings and Ducks "local" market, so the next time you're there on vacation and craving some hockey, there are two teams on TV to choose from! On the other hand, Alaska has no blackout restrictions.
- Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are all covered by 3 teams: Calgary, Edmonton, and Winnipeg. Iowa and parts of Pennsylvania are also covered by 3 teams, and northern New York is covered by 4.
- Ottawa and Montreal share a market but are broadcast on different channels. Edmonton and Calgary are both show primarily on Rogers' Sportsnet West.
- Fox Sports Network (and affiliates Root Sports and NESN) are the local providers for 14 teams. Rogers' Sportsnet covers 5 teams in Canada, and Comcast Sportsnet covers 4 in the States. MSG takes care of the New York/New Jersey teams, and TSN broadcasts the Habs and Jets. Altitude is the only station not affiliated with a larger network or multiple NHL teams.
- The smallest blackout zone is for the Florida Panthers. I guess if you want to watch the Panthers, the NHL wants you to go right on ahead watch those Panthers. Philadelphia also has a small blackout area, while the Jets have the largest. The largest American market belongs to the Avs and spans 9 states.
- Conference III (aka the Central Division) actually touches the Atlantic because the Predator's market includes Georgia. Since Idaho and parts of Nevada are within the Avs territory and parts of eastern Nunavut are in the Jets', the division spans 5 time zones in total. It is also the only division to include all 4 major American time zones within the bounds of the USA. The Pacific Division also covers 5 time zones, but only within Canada. Out east, the Atlantic covers 4 zones, and the Metropolitan includes 2.