With the start of hockey season every year, we receive calls from Columbus Blue Jackets fans in Stark County wondering why they cannot watch the Blue Jackets play on TV.
All TV providers (MCTV, DirecTV, DISH, AT&T U-verse, etc.) must abide by these blackout rules.
The NHL controls all of the hockey games. They decide which teams are distributed in each market. The NHL has determined that Stark County is part of the Pittsburgh market.
To protect the Penguins’ market, the NHL will not allow us to “import” games from another market. That means we are not permitted to show the Blue Jackets games on Fox Sports Net Ohio (Ch. 31 & 631).
The Blue Jackets are considered distant by the NHL. That is not MCTV's decision. Fox Sports Net Ohio is required to switch us to alternate programming. We have no control over that decision or action. We have appealed to the NHL and they have repeatedly told us that we are part of the Pittsburgh market and the rules apply.
Wayne County is in the Columbus market for hockey. Therefore, we can show the Blue Jackets games in Wayne County.
Where else can I watch hockey?
Unfortunately, the NHL does not enjoy wide distribution on broadcast or cable TV. The NHL decides which networks televise their games. NBC Sports Network (Basic Plus 107 & 707) telecasts 7 to 10 live NHL games a month. The Blue Jackets do not appear very often on these schedules. The NHL is working on an online subscription service to allow hockey fans to stream out-of-market games over the Internet. As of September 30, 2015 the service has not been launched yet. Visit https://subscribe.nhl.com/ for more information.