Saturday, July 28, 2007

The CFL Blackout. As much of a joke as the Las Vegas Posse

A standard establishing photograph to distinguish a blog about football.

Today, the Saskatchewan Roughriders are playing the Edmonton Eskimos at Mosaic Stadium in Regina. The game is being telecast on TSN, everywhere in Canada except for the Province of Saskatchewan

According to the CFL's rules, a game cannot be broadcast live in the home team's market to ensure maximum ticket sales, but it can be lifted if a sell-out is confirmed beforehand. In Saskatchewan's case, since this game is not a sell-out, and since the Riders market share is the entire province (under one million people in a 652,000km² area), the game has been replaced by another program on TSN in Saskatchewan.

But, I am watching the game now. Not at the stadium, but rather on's broadband video site, where they are streaming the game live, and I am not being blocked based on my location.

This all but proves the CFL's blackout rules now have no meaning whatsoever. In this modern age, it is just about impossible to enforce them. These rules only affect the now small population who don't have satellite television or high-speed Internet access.

Here's another thing. CBC, who will lose the CFL contract after this year, also follows blackout rules. If one applies, they replace the game broadcast on the home team's local affiliate with alternate taped programming. However, cable and satellite subscribers who have timeshifting, can by all means tune into a CBC channel from outside their area to watch the game. And as far as I know, the cable and satellite companies that offer time-shifting do not voluntarily shut-off their out of area feeds to comply with the rules. The network also stream their games on A Rider home game has yet to be televised on CBC this season, so I have not experimented with the streaming theory, but I would assume that I will be able to see it regardless.

If the CFL wants to keep their blackout rules intact, they need to be reviewed, and repaired to ensure compliance. Otherwise, they might as well just show every game to everybody on TV.

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