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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 ;-)