A contract dispute between Fox and major northeastern cable provider Cablevision left three million households in the New York-Philadelphia corridor unable to watch either a baseball playoff game between the Philadelphia Phillies and San Francisco Giants or an NFL game between the New York Giants and Detroit Lions. The standoff stems from Fox's demand for much higher retransmission fees. Talks resume Monday, but commentators are already floating a nightmare scenario of a Yankees-Phillies World Series on Fox being blacked out for millions of fans. What should frustrated Cablevision subscribers make of all this?
Frustrated sports fans should blame Fox: This whole blackout is just wrong, especially for sports fans, says David Brown at Yahoo Sports. Watching the baseball playoffs from the comfort of your couch is so American it "almost reads like part of the Bill of Rights." Who's the "bad guy in this dispute"? Almost certainly "Fox's Rupert Murdoch," who keeps on "pulling stunts like this" to feed his already fat bank account. If he thinks this highly of baseball fans, MLB should ditch Fox.
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Frustrated sports fans should discover the internet: Basically, this sounds like any old story about business haggling, says Lee Igel at Forbes — with the "operative word" being "old."' In the 21st century this feud is all but irrelevant: If the games aren't available on TV, people can and should stream them off the internet. That's the new media reality. Someone should inform Fox and Cablevision that this isn't 1995.
"Cablevisiion-Fox fight is so last century"
It's tough to blame Fox — they're playing a much bigger game: Actually, Fox is very much focused on the future, says Janko Roettgers at GigaOm. The tell is that it blocked access to Hulu, its joint website venture with NBC, for a few hours. That was "a show of force" — to NBC, and the FCC. If Fox can block Hulu, the FCC has to see that a merged Comcast-NBC could do worse. Fox wins by spoiling the merger of two rivals or by forcing NBC to sell Fox its lucrative Hulu stake.
"What was Fox’ Hulu blackout really all about?"