The Ongoing Mystery of MLS Blackouts

As I type this post, I am watching the Red Bulls self destruct on Major League Soccer’s excellent MatchDay Live service.  Yet at the same time, the game is blacked out on DirectKick, the league’s television game package.  What makes the blackout mysterious, is the unavailability of MSG Network (the RSN that carries the Red Bulls) in the Hartford area.  Common sense seems to suggest that the league would aggressively work to make its product available to as many people as possible.

I asked MLS about these issues and about the success of the Direct Kick and MatchDay Live program, and this was the response we got from the League:
MLS has worked with its television partners and upgraded its online video player with the intention of allowing fans to see every one of their team’s games live. Nationally-televised games are blacked out on DirectKick and MatchDay Live as part of the rights agreements. DirectKick and MatchDay Live are essentially out-of-market pay-per-view games that are purchased in bulk at a flat rate.

Markets are determined by the zip codes to which the regional carrier is distributed.   The Red Bull games should be available live in the Hartford area online via MatchDay Live. If the game is not available online, then we need to know the zip code of those who are blacked out from the game, so that we can address the issue with the local carrier.

We have noticed an overall increase in interest in both MatchDay Live and Direct Kick, and we will continue to offer both packages going forward.

I would certainly be interested in your experiences with blackouts.  Are there games that you believe should be accessible in your area that are blacked out?  Drop a line in the comment section or at footiebusiness@gmail.com

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