Sunday at 1 p.m., Channel 3 will be carrying the baseball game between the Cleveland Indians and Marlins. That means we'll join Game 4 of the Stanley Conference Western Cup Finals between the Los Angeles Kings and the Phoenix Coyotes in progress.
We understand this is extremely frustrating to our hockey fans.
Below is a statement from our programming director Terry Moir on how these decisions are made:
Dear hockey fans,
There's really nothing I can say that will make any of you happy with our decision, but at least let me explain the process:
Channel 3 has a contract to air 20 of the Cleveland Indian baseball games on broadcast TV. We entered into this agreement upon the launch of SportsTime Ohio in order to provide fans that can't afford cable a way to watch the Tribe. We try very hard to divide up the sports that we pre-empt for baseball...taking some hockey, some tennis, some golf, some volleyball and so forth.
Games are picked in December of the year before they air. Then NBC lays in their sports calendar in January or February. Our initial list of games is then cleared by NBC. NBC has events that we can pre-empt and ones that we cannot pre-empt. If I have a game on a date that they feel is not pre-emptible then I have to move off that date. So I am limited by the dates I can chose to pre-empt. The network does not allow us to show the pre-empted sports on any other network - cable or otherwise - and we are not allowed to put them online or on our high def 3.2 channel. NBC owns the rights to those events exclusively so we cannot air them overnight or in any other time period.
In order to meet our 20 game commitment to the Indians, I have to schedule games in April and May, just as hockey is headed into playoffs. Decisions that were made in December, well before the Stanley Cup Playoffs started, have resulted in WKYC being unable to show this Sunday's hockey game between the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings.
We are actively working this year to put a solution in place so that the hockey fans residing in Cleveland will have an organized and complete solution in place for the 2013 Stanley Cup Playoffs. As soon as it becomes clear when NBC will be nationally airing Stanley Cup Playoff games and if a conflict of schedule occurs with our agreed Indians games, we will announce our plan to keep hockey fans connected with their games.
Director of Programming
WKYC Channel 3