Honestly, when has a split screen ever really satisfied a viewer of either of the two games vying for space on one channel?
The compromising position that Prime Ticket and Fox Sports West put itself in confirms only the fact that in trying to please everyone, you rarely please anyone.
As the juggling act took place with three Southern California playoff games on two channels, the result was splitting the difference on the flat-screen and create a visual for both the overtime scenario that the Kings got themselves into during their NHL Stanley Cup playoff opener in St. Louis just as the Clippers-Memphis NBA Western Conference quarterfinal Game 5 from Staples Center was tipping off at 7:30 p.m.
It’s not as if either game could have been moved to FSW – that’s where the Ducks-Detroit NHL playoff opener began at 7:30 p.m.
Although the Clippers-Grizzles game was also live on TNT, both the Kings (on CNBC) and Ducks (NBC Sports Network) were blacked out locally to protect the Prime/FSW rights. In this case, it may have been a suitable alternative.
While fans struggled to get into any kind of rhythm in watching either game — and wondering how the Ducks got a channel all to themselves — among the many who took to Twitter to express dismay at the situation was actress Alyssa Milano: “This spilt screen bullshit is driving me nuts.
Actor Wil Wheaton also tweeted:
“Hey, let’s split screen hockey sudden death overtime with the first quarter of a basketball game!” – someone I want to kick.
” Kings fans, it’s time for some strongly worded letters to
@FoxSportsWest. This is infuriating.”
@FoxSportsWest is going to split screen a Kings game in OT, the NHL shouldn’t blackout other channels that aren’t. @CNBC”
“And now that I’m on an official rant, anyone who cares about the clippers is watching on TNT,
@FoxSportsWest. Wake up, idiots.”
Another longtime Kings fan Rob Markley tweeted out a photo of how he ended up watching the overtime play out:
“We sincerely apologize to the Kings and the Clippers and their fans. We didn’t serve them as well we should have with our coverage of last night’s games. Going forward, there is a plan in place to ensure all remaining playoff games are seen in their entirety, which includes lifting local blackouts if necessary.”
Having already farmed out the Dodgers (Channel 9) and Angels (Channel 13) to other spots on the dial, Prime/FSW began the night confusing some Kings and Ducks viewers when it switched up their usual home channels for Game 1 of their playoff series. But that was all in trying to get the timing right on starts and finishes to games.
Although the Kings game started at 5 p.m., the problem came at 7:30 p.m. when they forced the overtime with a late goal, and then went into a 10-minute intermission. That allowed the start of the Clippers-Grizzles game to appear full on Prime — and start Kings’ fans wondering what was going to happen next.
“Simmer down everyone. FS Prime Ticket is going back to the Kings OT when it starts.” came the tweet from @LAKings
When the hockey returned, the Clippers went into hibernation, leaving play-by-play men Bob Miller and Ralph Lawler to inform viewers of the switching tactics on the fly.
If the Kings were in a commercial time out, the Clippers came full screen. If the Clippers went between quarter, the Kings came on full screen.
@JayChristensen from TheWizofOdds.com was quick enough to tweet out his problematic palate of confusion:
The confluence became most confusing when both were on side by side, keeping the Kings’ audio as Clippers viewers could at least see what was happening.
When the Kings eventually lost Game 1 at 6:35 into overtime (see photo above), the Clippers and Grizzles were about two minutes into the second quarter of their game. The Kings did a short post-game before moving the telecast to the rest of the Clippers game.
“I blame the split screen” tweeted out @theroyalhalf
At Sports Media Watch, another tweet came out: “Re: Kings/Clippers split screen: the Clippers outrated the Kings by 164% on FS West this season. Not justifying the move, but still.”
Moving forward, the scenario could repeat again, but not in the next few days.
Today: Only the Dodgers (Prime, 7 p.m.) and Angels (FSW, 12:30 p.m.) are on the channels. The Kings and Ducks are off.
Thursday: The Kings are exclusive to CNBC (6:30 p.m.) as neither FSW nor Prime could find a proper remedy to air the Game 2 of their series. FSW has Angels game vs. Baltimore (7 p.m.) while the Ducks are back on their normal home, Prime (7 p.m.). The Dodgers are off.
Friday: The Clippers-Grizzlies Game 6 is on FSW at 6:30 p.m. The Dodgers are on Prime (7 p.m.) at San Francisco, with the Angels-Orioles moved to Channel 13 (7 p.m.)
Saturday: Prime has the Dodgers-Giants (6 p.m.), and FSW has the Kings-Blues Game 3 from Staples Center (7 p.m., with NBC Sports Network blacked out) The Angels are on at 1 p.m. on Channel 11 and the Ducks-Red Wings Game 3 has been moved to KDOC (with CNBC’s feed blacked out).
Beyond that, wait and see. And consider an uninterrupted Canadian feed of the hockey games if your dish so desires. That’s how the Redondo Beach Cafe hockey hot spot remedied the situation on Tuesday with all its multi-screen presentation.
(Staff writers Jill Painter and Brian Martin contributed to this post)