What are Blackouts?

The term blackout refers to when a sporting event cannot be televised in certain areas/on certain channels due to contractual agreements between professional sports leagues and broadcasters. Blackouts generally occur when the viewer resides within a 50-mile radius of the event. However, carriers are unable to track all blackouts, as they are subject to change without notice.

The following sports may be subject to blackouts:

  • NFL (National Football League)
  • NBA (National Basketball Association)
  • NHL (National Hockey League)
  • MLB (Major League Baseball)
  • The college level of each of the above sports, as applicable

Blackouts and National Rights

If a national network such as ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, ESPN2 or TNT carries a game featured on one of the Regional Sports Networks (RSN), the national network cannot bring its signal into the RSN territory. Likewise, the RSN is prohibited from carrying the national network signal nationwide during the event.

Blackouts and Local Rights

If a local off-air broadcast channel (not ABC, NBC, CBS or FOX) or local cable system has rights to broadcast a game in a certain region, customers in that area will not receive that game through their Spectrum subscription(s). Customers outside the area will receive the game through the appropriate out-of-market professional sports subscription.