Satellite Users Unite!

If you’re a Sox fan outside New England, and you can afford it, chances are you subscribe to some variety of packages through satellite TV that allows you to either watch the Sox or at least catch non-game NESN programming.

No longer. According to this thread at SOSH, NESN has refused to pay out-of-region licensing fees to MLB, thus causing a blackout of all programming that includes highlights of Red Sox games if you live outside New England. That means no pregame, postgame shows, no Red Sox Rewind, no Remys, presumably no Sox Classics, no nothing. When asked about it, NESN has told Red Sox fans they have become aware that longstanding rules prohibiting this activity were not properly enforced, so they called the networks to make sure those rules were. Except, um, every other sports network on those systems is still showing baseball-related programming.

It’s pretty clear that NESN specifically called DirecTV and Dish Network and told those companies to black out its baseball-related programming because of the fees dispute.

This is absolutely unconscionable. For a team and a network that so takes pride in the "Red Sox Nation" slogan, it is the height of hypocrisy to shun the very fans that make that slogan possible. Without those of us in Texas and elsewhere, the Red Sox are just like most other teams — a regional team with a regional fan base. The Red Sox own NESN, and there are indications that ownership did not know about this network decision. Apparently, Sox fans outside New England have been lighting up the NESN switchboards. I suggest you do the same.

New England Sports Network, Ltd.
480 Arsenal Street, Building #1
Watertown, MA 02472
Phone:  (617) 536-9233
Fax: (617) 536-7814

Also, the e-mail of NESN’s president:

I’m probably posting over a game thread, but this is incredibly important, especially those of us who live far away from New England and like to get a little taste of home.

Update: Apparently, the pregame/postgame shows returned last night and the pregame aired today. Hopefully, the SOSH pressure worked. Nevertheless, it’s a sad moment when the Red Sox organization shows a willingness to screw over fans outside the New England area. Let’s hope things have resolved. Just to make sure, why don’t we all send a few emails apiece anyway ;-)

13 comments… add one
  • I seem to recall a few NYT editorials when Cablevision and the YES network were battling. Shoe’s on the other foot now.

    YF July 19, 2006, 2:00 pm
  • …and for any of you who do call or write emails, add a little tidbit about how there is only one county in New England without NESN, Fairfield County. I would love to be able to watch the games when I go visit my girlfriend. That is all.

    NeffSox July 19, 2006, 3:08 pm
  • I dunno how many pitches he’s at, but I’d actually feel less comfortable with Beckett pitching in the ninth of a 1-0 game than I did yesterday with Lester. Becektt likes the longball a bit too much for my taste in a game this close…

    Paul SF July 19, 2006, 3:22 pm
  • Wrong thread… :-P

    Paul SF July 19, 2006, 3:23 pm
  • YF: this has been a totally bizarre situation, somewhat dissimilar to the petty squabbles of the Dolan clan, which were attributable to territorial issues and pricing strategies. I subscribe to Directv’s MLB package – in other words I pay $160 for the season’s games, yet NESN’s pre-game and post-game shows had been blacked out. So I get the games, but not the pre- or post-game commentary. That makes (or made, if the situation has been worked out) no sense whatsoever.

    SF July 19, 2006, 7:41 pm
  • Does MLBTV also black out the pre and post game stuff? I have the DirecTV package, but at half the price, the netcasts seem like a decent alternative.

    Vic SF July 19, 2006, 10:37 pm
  • They’ve received my pissed off comment in spades, rest assured.
    I’m a transplant. I’m sequestered in Chicago, and if I can’t enjoy the Sox (red, of course) here, well, then crap, what’s the point?

    Anonymous July 20, 2006, 1:15 am
  • Yet again, the elitists at SOSH claim the victory only for themselves!

    Dennis July 20, 2006, 2:56 pm
  • Wait, NESN and ESPN are different channels?

    MP July 20, 2006, 3:15 pm

    jere July 20, 2006, 5:00 pm
  • And what’s up with DirecTV providing NESN in HD only in the Boston market? Those of us in the Providence market, and I imagine others, still screwed here.

    JD July 20, 2006, 5:10 pm
  • Vic SF: no, if it’s not part of the game itself, does not show it. FWIW, I’m just glad that decided to end its moratorium on NESN broadcasts starting with the KC series.

    Eric July 21, 2006, 1:00 pm
  • I too am more than somewhat distressed! I pay “twice” for NESN and usually get the “other team’s broadcast” if on MLB pay pkg.I live 6-7 miles out of NE in NYS. When is baseball,incl. NESN (& YES) going to wake up and realize everyone is not a fan of same team…WANT TO BE REALLY PO’D TRY CWS WITH THAT MORON HARRELSON. “HE GONE”. Terrible.Thanks for NESN e-mail address

    Ed Phillips July 28, 2006, 3:22 pm

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