JANUARY 26, 2016 UPDATE with this news: http://bit.ly/1RLA1ZN
Boiled down to a peanut shell, the great majority of San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s fans in Hawaii can’t watch those teams’ games on TV or the Internet (MLB.com, etc.) because broadcast rights holder Comcast and Hawaii's dominant cable system, Time-Warner, have refused to cut a deal, and MLB stands to the side without lifting a finger for Hawaii fans.
Here's the Ferd Lewis column that explains why fans in Hawaii of every MLB team are affected by this blackout:
Greed traps Hawaii’s Giants fans in sad squeeze play
By Ferd Lewis
POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Mar 02, 2014
It hasn't been easy to be a San Francisco Giants fan in Hawaii these past few seasons, even with two World Series banners.
But this year it is getting more frustrating for the enduring faithful.
The 2014 season will mark the sixth year that Major League Baseball's absurd blackout policy restricts the number of games that fans can watch on TV or via the Internet. It is a greedy dodge that has affected Giants games more than others here, where San Francisco has historically had a strong following.
Now, not only will the blackout continue, it comes as the Giants' division rivals, the Padres and Dodgers, have networks debuting here.
Last week, Oceanic Time Warner Cable inaugurated SportsNetLA, the all-Dodgers-all-the-time network, on channels 217 and 319. The Padres' Fox Sports San Diego debuts March 30 on channel 227, Oceanic said.
If that isn't enough to make Giants fans, well, Dodger Blue in the face, then consider that those over-the-top salaries the Dodgers are paying (Clayton
Kershaw's seven-year, $215 million, for instance), are enabled by the $8.35 billion, 25-year rights fees deal Los Angeles has with Time Warner.
That's a four-fold increase over last year and it is being subsidized, in part, by guess who?
KITV's MeTVHawaii (Oceanic channel 126 and over-the-air 4.2), has stepped up to offer a 15-game selection of Giants games between March 15 and Sept. 12, but it is only part of the games that MLB's gluttony takes away.
MLB's scam goes like this: Teams claim territories in which to peddle their product. The Giants, A's, Dodgers, Angels, Mariners and Padres all grabbed our state even though it isn't like local residents can drive to any of their games. What this has allowed the teams and their rights holders to do is use blackouts to leverage cable carriers to ante up for their packages. Some, like the Mariners, have occasionally relented.
But most, notably the Giants and rights holder Comcast, won't budge, even in the case of games on MLB Extra Innings and MLB.com. The height of ridiculousness is that even when the Giants are playing on the East Coast, their games can be blacked out here.
"It makes me really angry ... really, really angry since Time Warner and Comcast have been unable to reach a deal to broadcast the Giants games for five years," fan Phil Kinnicutt wrote in an email. "According to Oceanic, Comcast was asking too much and that it was a Time Warner 'headquarters' decision. This corporate impasse has been going on for five years now while the interests of the fans are ignored and MLB refuses to step in."
The hope is that if Comcast's acquisition of Time Warner goes through, it will eventually provide the kind of change that common sense, the FCC and some political pressures have so far been unable to force.
Meanwhile, don't expect the arrival of Dodgers and Padres networks to soothe too many aggrieved Giants fans.