Stars Announce Broadcast Schedule, But Fans Are Struggling To Find The Channel
A big dispute between Sinclair, which now owns all of the Fox Sports regional networks, and channel carriers might leave a lot of Stars fans in the cold this hockey season.
Some have questioned why the Dallas Stars would want to be in the new Central Division this season when the competitiveness of the new West could have been more favorable for a team looking to go on another deep run and take advantage of their core’s window. Those someones don’t remember what it was like to have divisional games that started at 9:30 PM local time when the team was in the old Pacific Division.
Suffice it to say that in a market where the Stars struggle to get local media coverage thanks to the Dallas Cowboys, those late night starts do absolutely nothing to help in that regard. It’s easier to be even more irrelevant if people don’t have the option to watch the team in prime time more often than not. From that perspective, and considering the excitement caused in the area thanks to a deep Stanley Cup run this past offseason, the Stars being in the new Central Division is a good thing, even if the path to the Stanley Cup Final once again appears to be harder on paper.
By aligning with the likes of the Tampa Bay Lightning, Carolina Hurricanes, Detroit Red Wings, et. al., the Stars don’t have a start time past 7:30 PM local time in the 56-game shortened season.
This would be fantastic news....if Sinclair hadn’t purchased Fox Sports Southwest and then somehow managed to get the channel dropped from many of the area’s channel distributors. Of the major players in the area, the Stars are on three major cable providers: AT&T, Spectrum and DirecTV. As for streaming services, it appears the only one that’s offering FSSW right now is AT&T Now. (Personally, I have AT&T Now and seem to have no major issues with watching games on that service, minus the fact that I’m sometimes a minute or so behind live action. That can be interesting when people tweet results of scoring before you see it happen in real time, both in a good and bad way. AT&T Now also gives you a login that can be used on the Fox Sports Go app to stream games when they hit FSSW+, so it’s a decent option. I’m not getting paid to say this, but if AT&T wants to hook a girl up because of her honest opinion about their service, she wouldn’t say no....)
Guess it makes sense that AT&T is the new helmet sponsor for the Stars this season.
Legally, there aren’t a lot of options for fans that don’t have these services if they don’t switch before the season kicks off on January 14th. Purchasing the NHL Center Ice package isn’t helpful if you live in the FSSW footprint, as there are blackout restrictions that prevent you from watching your local team on their service.
The frustration Stars fans are sure to feel because of all of this isn’t the fault of the Stars. They have little leverage in these negotiations as a single entity, but if the Stars, Dallas Mavericks, and Texas Rangers — all of which have their games broadcast on the Fox Sports regional network — banded together to bring their collective clout to the table, maybe these disputes would get fixed sooner rather than later. Until the local carriers and major streaming services get a deal figured out with Sinclair, though, Stars fans could be left out in the cold for this season’s games.