Blackhawks Confidential

NHL on Versus Archives

Blame DirecTV, Bettman for Hawks game blackout

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I turned on the ignition and flipped on the radio last night right after the Calgary Flames scored their first goal.

Thirty seconds later, before I was out of my work parking lot, the Blackhawks were down 3-0.

I turned into my driveway and the Hawks trailed 5-0.  John Wiedemann and Troy Murray were nearly speechless.  Murray commented on how he has never seen such a terrible Hawks' performance in his career as their broadcaster.

Well, I thought, at least I don't have the option of viewing the carnage thanks to my DirecTV subscription.  No Blackhawks game for me tonight.  What am I really missing anyway?

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How long will DirecTV keep Versus in the penalty box?

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So when exactly is it time to start getting worried?  It has now been a week since DirecTV dropped Versus as a channel option to all customers.  The satellite provider is in a dispute with Comcast - their main rival and owner of the Versus cable network.

DirecTV argues that it's about money and fairness.  Comcast is concerned that DirecTV will move Versus into another a tier of channel offerings therefore reducing the overall viewers of the fledgling sports channel.  I could care less who's right or wrong.  I just want access to hockey games.

DirecTV has approximately 18 million subscribers.  14 million of their customers subscribe to the Total Choice Xtra package which, until last week, included Versus.  I have been a relatively happy DirecTV customer for the past five years.  Sure, a thunderstorm may knock out service every once in a while.  But, really, it's not that often.  Plus, DirecTV offers the best sports options of any cable or satellite provider on the market.  Well, at least until now.

Will the situation clear itself up in time for the Blackhawks season opener in Helsinki?  I will assume the answer is yes.  As the NHL season approaches, I would expect the pressure on both parties will increase.  If not, I may be found climbing a ladder, sledgehammer in hand, mumbling expletives as I approach the otherwise reliable dish on my roof.

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