Chad Moriyama complains about nine teams being blacked out in Hawaii, which, last I checked, is not within reasonable driving distance to any major league ballpark. So I thought it would be helpful to put together a complete list of MLB’s blackout rules.
1. Teams have exclusive rights to broadcast video into designated territories. These territories were determined in 1806, before the invention of Major League Baseball, the invention of video, and the statehood of the most recent 33 states to join the union.
2. Territories are determined based on the following criteria, in no particular order:
(A) Where the team’s games are carried on local network or cable television.
(B) Where the team’s games could be carried on local network or cable television, if a cable company wanted to bother.
(C) Where someone could realistically drive to attend the team’s games.
(D) Where there is at least one recorded fan of the team, perhaps with a blog or Twitter account or something like that.
(E) The nearest major league team, even if that team is hundreds of miles away, except when (F) applies.
(F) Not the nearest major league team, but some other team that’s sort of near, or used to be the nearest team until some other team came into existence.
(G) An entire country, if that country is Canada, because only one person lives in Canada anyway.
3. If you live somewhere, and you like a particular team, there is a 100% chance that team’s games will be blacked out.
4. Teams have exclusive blackout rights to regions that range from zero square feet (in the case of the Rangers and Astros, which share blackout territory) to entire sections of the country (in the case of the Red Sox, which has exclusive blackout rights to New England).
5. Also, all games are blacked out Sunday through Saturday, day and night, for nationally televised and untelevised games on FOX, TBS, ESPN, MLB Network, Cartoon Network, the Home Shopping Network, and some dude with Skype and a Slingbox and a PlayStation doing some fancy technological stuff.
6. Seriously, the actual map of blackout territories is pretty ridiculous to look at.