@NHL, I Want My Money Back

9 January 2012

Back around October 12, 2011 with a new release version of iOS for the Apple TV2, they added support for NHL subscriptions. I was ecstatic because I do not have cable TV, satellite TV or OTA (over the air) TV. Therefore I had no way to watch the Detroit Red Wings play their games. Well, stupid me, I didn't think about local blackouts because I figured that if I paid the NHL directly for their content, that I would get all games, including my local regional games. That isn't the case.

I paid the NHL $160 in monthly installments for the service and was able to watch a few games at first. But since late October - early November, every game I try to watch is blacked out.

On November 13, 2011 I contacted the NHL via their website requesting a refund and cancellation of my subscription due to not being able to get my local games.

Here is their reply:

Please do NOT reply to this Email. If the information listed in this email does not resolve your customer service issue, please call 866-210-6349.

Hello *******,

Unfortunately we are unable to cancel your account at this time. Each subscriber has 5 days to cancel from the day the package was ordered or activated, as agreed upon in the Terms and Conditions. Your activation date was on 10/13/11.

The day it was activated counts as one of the 5 days. Your purchase was for the Full Season, but you chose the option to pay it off in 8 "Monthly Installments". The NHL does not offer a month to month service that can be canceled at any time, just the full season with the option to pay it in full upfront, or to pay it off on monthly installments. We encourage you to take advantage of your purchase and enjoy the rest of this NHL Season.

You have been removed from automatic renewal for the 2012/2013 Season for GameCenter Live, so your account will cancel after your last payment. We hope you enjoy your service with

Thank you,

Customer Service Representative

Please do NOT reply to this Email. If the information listed in this email does not resolve your customer service issue, please call 866-210-6349.

Five days? Who sets up services where you only get 5 days to decide if you like something or not? Usually it's 30-90 days at most places. I have to tell you though, those first 5 days were fine; every Detroit Red Wings game I wanted to watch, I was able to watch. So I feel like I was hoodwinked on this one. Perhaps I should have read the fine print. Yeah, but honestly, who really does anyway?

I am sick of the archaic business model these cable & satellite companies have, where we are stuck in regions and they try to make it so one must watch a certain station or channel to get a game they want. But when I pay $160 directly to the NHL, I fully expect to be exempt from any blackouts on any game. Otherwise, what's the use in paying for the service unless you're favorite team is in another part of the country?

Another fairy tale that I used to believe was that blackouts were only done when your local team's stadium wasn't sold out. Boy was I wrong on that one. I was mad for a while because the Red Wings are on a current 43-game sellout streak. So why the blackout I thought. From their NHL Center Ice page.


Blackout restrictions exist to protect the local telecasters of each NHL game in the local markets of the teams. Keep in mind that blackout policies and restrictions are different for every sports package that your system may carry. (NHL CENTER ICE is designed for the NHL fan who wants to see NHL games in addition to those which involve the team(s) in their local markets).

If you are located in a team's television territory, check your local listings for all locally televised games. NHL CENTER ICE is not able to televise these games.

If you are located in a team's television territory and their local regional sports network is not available on your current cable or satellite provider, you will not be able to see these games in NHL CENTER ICE. This is a distribution issue between the regional sports network and the cable/satellite provider. The blackout remains intact as the local regional sports network has the rights to these games in your area.

Blackouts are not based on arena sell-outs.

It says the blackouts exist to protect the local telecasters. Protect them from what? Terrorists? I don't get it.

Whatever. I just want my money back, but they refuse to do that because I only had 5 lousy days to decide. What a rip off. When I think about it, I fire off Tweets to @NHL, @Commish_Gary, and @NHLschuylerb for stealing my money! Jerks!

I will say again, if I, the customer, pay the NHL DIRECTLY for their content, I expect to receive ALL of it - no blackouts. GIVE ME MY MONEY BACK!

If any NHL officials want to exude some actual customer service worth reporting, you can contact me here to see about refunding my money or lifting the archaic blackout rules and providing me my local Detroit Red Wings entertainment.

Download the pdf version with pictures here.