I get it. The policies affecting NBA League Pass are confusing. And figuring out if your local television provider will carry the Hawks can be frustrating:
Hawks games on SportSouth are available in Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi (excluding the Biloxi/Gulfport, Memphis and New Orleans DMAs), Tennessee (excluding the Memphis and Jackson DMAs), the Charleston, Augusta and Savannah DMA of South Carolina, the counties of Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain in the Greenville-Spartanburg DMA of North Carolina, and the counties of Abbeville, Anderson and Oconee in Greenville-Spartanburg DMA.
There is good news though. Everyone in North America can watch the Hawks, but the method of watching them depends on where you live.
While there was recently a ruling from the FCC to end NFL blackouts, this is a different type of blackout. The specific issue with the NFL is that a local game may be blacked out on TV due to low ticket sales. The reasoning was because the NFL did not want to cannibalize their demand for games, meaning they did not want to show games on TV if the result was they would sell less tickets. While at one point in time the NBA did adopt this practice, they have abandoned this in recent years.
The blackouts I am referring to pertain to the rights to televise NBA games. For the Hawks, they have sold the rights to broadcast Atlanta Hawks basketball games to SportSouth. With these rights in hand, SportSouth negotiates with television providers a fee to use their feed. Because of this, SportSouth has an interest to protect their investment. SportSouth designates that in the markets they have designated as Atlanta Hawks markets (below), they hold the exclusive rights to Hawks games. They do not release this right to NBA League Pass, so NBA League Pass does not have the right to broadcast a Hawks game in these areas. Such is life.
Outside the Southeast
For those outside of the Southeast, you can watch the Hawks through NBA League Pass. I suggest Bob and Nique, it doesn't get any better than that!
You get all the games unless the Hawks are playing a team in your local market or the game is nationally televised. If you are accessing NBA League Pass through the internet, then you can choose which broadcast you listen to.
For instance, if you live in Houston then you get all of the Hawks games unless the Hawks are playing the Rockets. This is because the rights to the Rockets telecasts have been given to their regional network. So your game would be blacked out on NBA League Pass, but you can still watch the game on the regional network.
The nationally televised games are any game carried on ESPN, NBATV, or TNT. The Hawks are on ESPN twice (January 14th against Boston and January 19th against Detroit) and NBATV twice (Knicks November 10 against New York and February 2 against New Orleans). So these four games will be blacked out on NBA League Pass.
There are 7 games not televised by SportSouth. A home game against Denver on December 7th, at Indiana on December 8th, at Utah on January 2nd, a home game against Washington on January 11th, at Boston on January 14th, a home game against Detroit on January 19th, and at Sacramento on March 16th.
Two of those are ESPN games (Boston and Detroit). This leaves 5 games without Bob and Nique, bummer. But cheer up, at least you can watch those other 5 games with the opposite team's announcers.
For those in the Southeast (Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee), things get messy. Dependent upon whether you live in a designated market area that carries the Hawks telecasts, then you will be blacked out on NBA League Pass.
So I've put up a nice map to figure this out (click to enlarge):
Or if you are someone who can't pick out the county that you live in from a map, I've got that covered for you below. Alternatively, you can go to the bottom of http://www.nba.com/leaguepass/ and put in your ZIP code to see if the Hawks are blacked out for you.
Sadly, I must break the news to those in the black counties. You have no way to watch the Hawks play at Indiana on December 8th, at Utah on January 2nd, or at Sacramento on March 16th. I live in a red county and therefore I can watch all 82 games through NBA League Pass, ESPN, and NBATV. So please don't hate me too much. Maybe you can riot against SportSouth and the Atlanta Spirit?
But if you have one takeaway from this article it is this:
Do not purchase NBA League Pass if you live in the blacked out counties! You won't be able to watch the Hawks in those areas. You better get cable or satellite.
Alabama: All counties - Autauga, Baldwin, Barbour, Bibb, Blount, Bullock, Butler, Calhoun, Chambers, Cherokee, Chilton, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Cleburne, Coffee, Colbert, Conecuh, Coosa, Covington, Crenshaw, Cullman, Dale, Dallas, Dekalb, Elmore, Escambia, Etowah, Fayette, Franklin, Geneva, Greene, Hale, Henry, Houston, Jackson, Jefferson, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Lee, Limestone, Lowndes, Macon, Madison, Marengo, Marion, Marshall, Mobile, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Perry, Pickens, Pike, Randolph, Russell, Shelby, St. Clair, Sumter, Talladega, Tallapoosa, Tuscaloosa, Walker, Washington, Wilcox, and Winston.
Georgia: All counties - Appling, Athens-Clarke, Atkinson, Augusta-Richmond, Bacon, Baker, Baldwin, Banks, Barrow, Bartow, Ben Hill, Berrien, Bibb, Bleckley, Brantley, Brooks, Bryan, Bulloch, Burke, Butts, Calhoun, Camden, Candler, Carroll, Catoosa, Charlton, Chatham, Chattooga, Cherokee, Clay, Clayton, Clinch, Cobb, Coffee, Colquitt, Columbia, Columbus-Muscogee, Cook, Coweta, Crawford, Crisp, Cusseta-Chattahoochee, Dade, Dawson, Decatur, DeKalb, Dodge, Dooly, Dougherty, Douglas, Early, Echols, Effingham, Elbert, Emanuel, Evans, Fannin, Fayette, Floyd, Forsyth, Franklin, Fulton, Georgetown-Quitman, Gilmer, Glascock, Glynn, Gordon, Grady, Greene, Gwinnett, Habersham, Hall, Hancock, Haralson, Harris, Hart, Heard, Henry, Houston, Irwin, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Jenkins, Johnson, Jones, Lamar, Lanier, Laurens, Lee, Liberty, Lincoln, Long, Lowndes, Lumpkin, Macon, Madison, Marion, McDuffie, McIntosh, Meriwether, Miller, Mitchell, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Murray, Newton, Oconee, Oglethorpe, Paulding, Peach, Pickens, Pierce, Pike, Polk, Pulaski, Putnam, Rabun, Randolph, Rockdale, Schley, Screven, Seminole, Spalding, Stephens, Stewart, Sumter, Talbot, Taliaferro, Tattnall, Taylor, Telfair, Terrell, Thomas, Tift, Toombs, Towns, Treutlen, Troup, Turner, Twiggs, Union, Upson, Walker, Walton, Ware, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wheeler, White, Whitfield, Wilcox, Wilkes, Wilkinson, and Worth.
Mississippi: Amite, Bolivar, Calhoun, Carroll, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Clarke, Clay, Covington, Forrest, Franklin, Greene, Grenada, Itawamba, Jasper, Jones, Kemper, Lamar, Lauderdale, Lee, Leflore, Lowndes, Monroe, Montgomery, Neshoba, Newton, Noxubee, Oktibbeha, Perry, Pontotoc, Prentiss, Sunflower, Tallahatchie, Tishomingo, Union, Washington, Wayne, Webster, Wilkinson, Winston, and Yalobusha.
North Carolina: Graham, Jackson, Macon and Swain.
South Carolina: Abbeville, Aiken, Allendale, Anderson, Barnwell, Beaufort, Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton, Dorchester, Edgefield, Georgetown, Hampton, Jasper, McCormick, and Oconee.
Tennessee: Anderson, Bedford, Benton, Bledsoe, Blount, Bradley, Campbell, Cannon, Carroll, Carter, Cheatham, Chester, Claiborne, Clay, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, DeKalb, Decatur, Dickson, Fentress, Franklin, Gibson, Giles, Grainger, Greene, Grundy, Hamblen, Hamilton, Hancock, Hardin, Hawkins, Henderson, Henry, Hickman, Houston, Humphreys, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Loudon, Macon, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Maury, McMinn, McNairy, Meigs, Monroe, Montgomery, Moore, Morgan, Obion, Overton, Perry, Pickett, Polk, Putnam, Rhea, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Scott, Sequatchie, Sevier, Smith, Stewart, Sullivan, Sumner, Trousdale, Unicoi, Union, Van Buren, Warren, Washington, Wayne, Weakley, White, Williamson, and Wilson.