There’s something oddly validating about being told you’re a hockey market after months of ridicule regarding how Atlanta doesn’t deserve a team. Heck, according to the NHL, we’re in two hockey markets! The Nashville Predators and Carolina Hurricanes are apparently both in our viewing area, despite the fact that Nashville’s a four hour drive and Carolina’s a seven hour drive or so. As a refresher to the NHL:
So, since we’re apparently double the hockey market we were when we had a team here, we get double the blackouts. The Carolina Hurricanes and Nashville Predators games are so far being blacked out in Atlanta due to the fact that some games will be broadcast on FoxSports South. Not all, just a few. Inexplicably, the NHL is blacking out the games broadcast on Center Ice/Gamecenter Live regardless of if they’re being aired in the Atlanta area.
So, to recap – fans in a non-hockey market who are paying almost $180 a year to watch a sport that they can no longer watch at the NHL level in their backyard can’t watch teams on TV that they have to drive long distances to attend games for. As a paying customer, I’m miffed. As someone who needs to watch the Blues outside of the St. Louis market, this is disappointing.
So, in summary, Market A loses a team, and Markets B and C want to court Market A’s fans. This keeps Market A’s fan dollars in the NHL to a degree, which the NHL should want. The NHL is hindering Market B and Market C’s ability to completely market to Market A, and in the process is upsetting fans in Market A that despite massive mistrust in the league still would like to continue to consume their product.
Memo to the NHL: Atlanta stopped using different money in 1865. Please, take ours.
I appreciate the confidence boost, NHL, in your believing that we’re suddenly a hockey market that can sustain fans for two teams. How about you give us a team here and let’s see if we can make it three?
EDIT: According to Brian Greer in the comments, the Nashville Predators have lifted the blackout here in Atlanta. I’m pretty sure that the Hurricanes are aware of the situation, and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it resolved soon.