In the United States of America
, an Out-of-Market Sports Package
is a form of Pay Per View
that broadcasts sporting events to areas who are unavailable to see them because the games are not broadcast in their local market
Many leagues with major television contracts establish elaborate rules regarding which games are broadcast in different regions (with local teams usually getting preference). For viewers who prefer to see a game other than the one being locally broadcast in their market, the out-of market package provides more options.
Rationale for Sports Packages
While such a thing may not appear necessary to the average fan who lives in the market of their team, many circumstances may by in place that generate the desire to view teams out of market. Some include:
- Moving from the market of their favorite team. While that team could be view on national broadcasts or when the team plays the local one, those opportunities are few and far between.
- Simply being a fan of another team
- Better competition, such as in the case of college football and basketball. For example, wanting to watch a few of the most competitive or most interesting national games each week, in addition to one's home team's games.
- More opportunity to watch one sport, such as when a home team may not have a game to play, or creating one's own doubleheader; watching an early game, then a late game.
- Rivalries, having the desire to watch a rival team's games, or games of teams in the same conference or division as one's favorite teams, which may not be regularly available in one's market.
- Living in an area without an in-market team at the highest level in a sport, which usually means availability only of nationally televised games. Though these will often show a regional game, it may be the "most interesting" regional game, resulting in many missed games even when following the geographically closest team.
- Involvement in a Fantasy sports league. A sports fan who is "managing" a fantasy team may have the desire to watch the performance of players in several games that are beng played simultaneously and thus has the ability to switch back and forth between games.
- Blackouts. Most major sports leagues have a blackout policy that prevents viewers of a particular television channel (usually a regional sports network) from seeing games on that channel outside of a certain geographic area (specifically to direct out of town viewers to the package).
Cable and satellite
- MLB Extra Innings- Available to DirecTV and most Digital cable subscribers.
- MLS Direct Kick- Available to DirecTV, Dish Network, and most Digital cable subscribers.
- NBA League Pass- Available to DirecTV, Dish Network, and most Digital cable subscribers.
- NFL Sunday Ticket- Exclusive to DirecTV†
- NHL Center Ice- Available to DirecTV, Dish Network, and most Digital cable subscribers.
- ESPN GamePlan- Available to DirecTV, Dish Network, and most Digital cable subscribers.
- ESPN Full Court- Available to DirecTV, Dish Network, and most Digital cable subscribers.
- Mega March Madness - Exclusive to DirecTV
† NFL Sunday Ticket is exclusive to DirecTV in the United States, but in other countries (most notably Canada) it is available more broadly, on several cable providers.
With the exception of ESPN360, Internet sports packages are primarily marketed directly to consumers and not through cable or satellite providers.
Regional Sports Network