Last night, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket had a rare opportunity when it had three postseason games to air on its two channels. The Prime Ticket chanel had an NHL/NBA playoff doubleheader with Game 1 of Kings-St. Louis followed by Game 5 of the Memphis-Clippers series. On Fox Sports West, it was Game 1 of the Detroit-Anaheim NHL Playoff series.
As the Kings-Blues game was winding down, it appeared things would end on time as the NHL game would end right as the Clippers game would get underway. But a funny thing happened. The Kings' Justin Williams tied it with 31.6 seconds remaining in regulation forcing overtime.
While the Kings game went into intermission, Prime Ticket began airing the Clippers game. The Kings' Twitter account tried to reassure fans that the hockey game would be coming back once overtime was underway. In fact, Fox Sports West's Twitter account also tweeted the same information. However, what happened when overtime began in St. Louis made two fan bases angry.
Prime Ticket went to a double box showing the Clippers on the left and the Kings on the right. But neither game went to full screen and that is how both games remained until St. Louis won in overtime on a Jonathan Quick giveaway in the Kings' zone.
It angered both Clippers and Kings fans. Actress Alyssa Milano, who is a huge hockey fan, was especially angry.
What's interesting is that while there's no official overflow Fox Sports channel in Southern California for conflicts, one was created in April for the Dodgers and it was utilized twice. In addition, the Clippers game was on TNT and when playoff games are on either ESPN or TNT, neither channel is blacked out in the home market. The Kings game was airing on CNBC and was blacked out locally, giving Kings fans no option to see the game on a full screen. In this case, Fox Sports did not utilize the overflow channel it had created for the Dodgers conflicts and continued with the double box until the Kings game was over.
So far, there's been no explanation from Fox Sports West as to why it went to the split screen. Awful Announcing will update the story if there is an official statement from Fox Sports.
UPDATE: Wil Wheaton, yes Wil Wheaton, also ranted about the split screen as well and the fact that the Clippers game was available on TNT while the Kings game was blacked out on CNBC.
Kings fans, it's time for some strongly worded letters to @foxsportswest. This is infuriating.— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) May 1, 2013
And now that I'm on an official rant, anyone who cares about the clippers is watching on TNT, @foxsportswest. Wake up, idiots.— Wil Wheaton (@wilw) May 1, 2013
UPDATE II: From a Fox Sports West spokesperson:
“With Clippers, Kings, and Ducks all having playoff games last night, we tried the make the best of a challenging situation and offer balanced coverage of all the teams. In similar situations going forward, we’ll take a look a look at our plans and see if there’s a way to serve all teams and viewers better.”
Another comment was released later in the day Wednesday by the network ensuring playoff games would be aired in their entirety in the future:
“We sincerely apologize to the Kings and the Clippers and their fans,” said Steve Simpson, senior vice president and general manager, FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket. “We didn't serve them as well we should have with our coverage of last night’s games. Going forward, there is a plan in place to ensure all remaining playoff games are seen in their entirety, which includes lifting local blackouts if necessary.”
(Pic via The Royal Half)
I'll be honest, I want to give credit to FOX Sports West for coming up with a plan to at least give you all of the action. It sounds complicated, but they did try to please everybody from the sound of it.
Root Sports Pittsburgh made a deal with MLB network to air Pirates games in the Pittsburgh market when both the Penguins and Pirates were playing. Maybe Fox Sports West should consider doing something similar. This might never happen again again but it would be wise for them to be prepared anyway.
Even worse: They use that lame split screen where each video feed is taking up MUCH LESS than 50%. So you cant see either game.
Root Sports Northwest, when it was still FSN, once threatened to do something similar with a Sonics playoff game and a Mariners REGULAR SEASON game. Luckily the Mariners game ended right before the Sonics game was due to tip. I actually would have thought it pretty cool, but maybe I wouldn't have thought so highly of it if it zoomed in on one or the other game all the time like mjarviejr claims.
This was completely horrible. No it did not stay split screen. It would randomly go to full screen of one or the other game for about 30 seconds. This has got to be one of the biggest screw up ever and the the people in charge at Fox Sports West need to be fired immediately. This was completely uncalled for and they were completely unprepared for something they should have been prepared for.
Florida gets 2 channels to cover 6 teams and 3 sports, also. We don't get the benefit of split screen either. Oh the Heat and Panthers are in the playoffs? Sorry, no baseball today folks. Don't worry, it's still blacked out on ESPN, too, because you're "in the market". I've had to pay for MLB.tv for the last 5 years just to have the ability to watch every Rays game because of this.