Preposterous for Dallas Mavericks’ playoff win to be essentially blacked out | Opinion

There are more pressing issues than celebrating Luka Doncic, or even praising the Dallas Mavericks for taking their first 2-0 playoff series lead since sweeping Kobe Byrant and the L.A. Lakers in 2011.

The issue at hand is not the L.A. Clippers, or anything the Dallas Mavericks are doing.

It is one thing not to be able to watch a Texas Rangers, Mavericks or Dallas Stars regular-season game, but these are the playoffs.

Tuesday night should have been party time, but instead for millions of Mavs fans it was four-letter word, smash-the-remote ridiculous.

What started out quietly during the height of COVID last year, when Sinclair Broadcast Group’s contracts with Hulu, YouTubeTV and other carriers expired, has now reached the ugliest moment: A playoff game effectively blacked out in a local market, unless the consumer has the higher priced DirecTV, Spectrum or TVMax.

Late Tuesday night, the Dallas Mavericks defeated the L.A. Clippers, 127-121, in their first-round NBA playoff series to take a 2-0 lead.

Most people were unable to watch it, because a bunch of suits who already have more money than they know what to do with need more of it. (And they preferably would like to have that money come from you. This is how the rich — Sinclair — get obscenely rich.

The game was not carried by ESPN or TNT, but rather NBA TV and Bally Sports Southwest, a subsidiary of Sinclair. The name change from Fox Sports Southwest to Bally happened earlier this year.

NBA TV was blacked out locally because of Bally.

For those who couldn’t watch it ... you missed quite the Luka performance.

Luka scored 39 points, and the Mavs currently own the Clippers. The Clippers have Kawhi Leonard, but they are being out-played by the better team.

Game 3 is Friday night at the American Airlines Center, and the good news is that it’s on ESPN.

The bad news is that there will likely be at least one more game of this series that will be “carried” by Bally Sports Southwest. At this point we’re just not sure which one, if the series goes to a fifth game.

After the first round, all of the playoff games will be carried by national platforms such as ABC, ESPN or TNT.

The Bally Sports Southwest marketing line is “The heart of the fan” which is only slightly ironic because its parent company keeps stabbing fans in their hearts.

If you’re looking for a bad guy in this scenario, it’s not Texas Rangers owner Ray Davis, which is a first.

It’s not Mavs owner Mark Cuban. It’s not Stars owner Tom Gaglardi.

It’s not even YouTubeTV (owned by Google), or Hulu (owned by Disney).

This is on Sinclair, which says all it wants from the carriers is to pay the same rate as the others.

Sounds great, but pull back the empty rhetoric and you’ll find what Sinclair is really doing is planning to launch its own extra for-pay streaming service.

Sinclair could end this disagreement today by creating dialogue and inching towards some reasonable middle ground with the other carriers, but it doesn’t want to.

What it wants to do is create the illusion that it can’t reach an agreement with the cord cutters, and other cable providers, and then it will heroically save the heart of the fan with its own streaming service. Which will come with it’s “highly affordable” fee of $4.99 a month.

You’ll notice none of these streaming services charge too much, because the providers only need a little from many to make a fortune.

Teams in markets all over the United States remain stuck in the middle of this, and they are losing fans as a result.

With a growing number of entertainment options to watch 24 hours a day, people will learn to live without the Rangers. Or Stars. Or Mavericks.

Or the NBA. The NHL. Or MLB.

Powerful people need to intervene on behalf of not only their team, but their entire sport. League commissioners. Coca-Cola and Budweiser CEOs. Sports owners, like Cuban.

Because it’s one thing to miss a regular-season game, but now we’re in the playoffs.

No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Dallas Mavericks

Mavericks lead series, 2-0

Game 1

May 22

Mavs 113, Clippers 103

Game 2

May 25

Mavs 127, Clippers 121

Game 3

May 28

at Mavs

8:30 p.m.


Game 4

May 30

at Mavs

8:30 p.m.


Game 5*

June 2

at Clippers



Game 6*

June 4

at Mavs



Game 7*

June 6

at Clippers



* if necessary