Every Wizards fan in the U.S. had the opportunity to watch the team’s first game of the preseason last night, against the Brooklyn Nets at Verizon Center—except, that is, for those actually living in Washington.
To the surprise of fans and franchise alike, the contest went untelevised in D.C.
The game was shown on NBA TV nationally but blacked out for the local market, which adheres to policy, according to Kurt Kehl, chief communications officer at Monumental Sports. But while the Nets then broadcasted the game on the YES Network, Comcast SportsNet—which held the D.C. rights to the game—treated viewers to a Florida Panthers–Philadelphia Flyers NHL match-up.
Calls to CSN’s D.C. office for comment went unanswered.
Though Kehl calls the NBA’s televising regulations “straightforward,” the Wizards’ official Twitter feed indicates that the team didn’t see the blackout coming.
We are aware the game is currently being blacked out locally on NBATV. Looking into the issue
— Washington Wizards (@WashWizards) October 8, 2013
Although Kehl acknowledged this internal confusion to City Desk, the reasons for it remain unclear.
Local fans would miss a last-gasp Glenn Rice dunk to force the game into overtime, where Washington eventually fell 111-106. The Wizards will next take on the Bulls Saturday in Rio de Janeiro; that game, the NBA’s first-ever in Brazil, will likewise air on NBA TV.
CSN Washington currently lists a Syracuse-North Carolina State college football game in its time slot.
Flickr photo via Keith Allison