Fri | Dec 2, 2016

Letter of the day: Letter of the day: Ask other cable operators why they're not showing the NBA playoffs

Published:Thursday | April 23, 2015 | 12:00 AM

THE EDTOR, SIR: I write in response to the letter of the day written by Stacy-Ann Smith that was published in this paper on Tuesday, April 21, 2015, entitled 'Digicel SportsMax biting off more than it can chew'.

Like her, I have been a fan of the NBA for years – predating the 1990s when the NBA was full with short shorts, long socks and high afros – thus the last thing that I nor anyone at Digicel SportsMax would ever seek to do is restrict the viewing of the NBA nor any sport.

Ms Smith first asks what is happening with the local broadcast of NBA games, having found that she is blocked from watching the games. She then goes on to answer it herself with "It's actually one entity's decision to acquire the exclusive broadcast rights for the NBA in Jamaica".

Unfortunately, Ms Smith, this is an assertion that is inaccurate and it seems that you and other viewers of the NBA have been misled. For clarity, currently there is no entity that holds the exclusive NBA broadcast rights for Jamaica or the Caribbean.

In fact, our release issued on March 31, 2015, when Digicel SportsMax acquired rights to broadcast select NBA games, stated that our company became one of four official broadcasters of NBA games in the region - alongside ESPN, Space and NBA-TV. Among these four broadcasters, all NBA playoff games will be aired live in Jamaica and across the region. The NBA Playoffs broadcast schedule for all channels will be posted on social media, our channels, and in newspapers so that all fans are aware of where they can watch the games.

Further, since the broadcast of the NBA kicked off on Digicel SportsMax on March 31, I am certain you would have seen that we broadcast 29 games over the final 15 days of the NBA season, nine more games than all the other authorised channels combined. Between Tuesday, April 21, and Sunday, April 26, there will be 20 NBA play-off games, of which Digicel SportsMax will broadcast eight games and the remaining 12 will be broadcast by ESPN, SPACE-TV and NBA-TV. In addition, as announced on Friday last, Digicel SportsMax will bring the 2015 NBA Finals and the Conference Finals to the widest available audience via free-to-air TV across the region by making these games available to other broadcasters.

cable-operator issue

While we cannot speak to the other broadcast situations you refer to, we can say that as the ultimate rights holder, the NBA issued a letter stating which entities are authorised to broadcast NBA games, and as a result of this letter issued by the NBA, the games have been blocked on certain stations, including TNT-US. As it regards your not being able to view NBA-TV, that is a question to be posed to your cable operator as the cable operator that we have and others that we have surveyed in Jamaica and the Caribbean continue to broadcast NBA-TV and the play-off games on NBA-TV. For questions on the NBA play-off games aired or not aired by the other authorised broadcasters, we encourage you to direct your questions to them.

Olly McIntosh

CEO, Digicel SportsMax