NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Two games of the World Series were wiped off the slate for some major-market sports fans, 13 National Football League games weren't seen in their home markets this season and certain service subscribers missed new episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. So why don't you have a backup plan?
For consumers in the know and sports fans with a modicum of tech savvy, there was no reason for missing Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain's starts for the San Francisco Giants as they strode out to a 2-0 series lead en route to their franchise's first championship in 56 years. Sure, News Corp.'s (Stock Quote: NWS) Fox was blocking content to Cablevision (Stock Quote: CVC) during their 14-day fee dispute, but there was also a lot of unnecessary wailing over the "loss" of free content carried over taxpayer-funded airwaves.
For football fans in Tampa, Fla., Buffalo, N.Y., Oakland, Calif., Detroit and San Diego who saw those same airwaves closed off to their home team's games this season because the stadium didn't sell out 72 hours before kickoff, the autonomy given to the NFL by the Sports Broadcasting Act of 1961 and the NFL blackout policy enacted in 1973 isn't enough to extort them out of an average ticket price estimated by Team Marketing Report to have hit $76.47. As for television shows, viewers have too many alternative methods of getting to content to tremble when Fox withdraws first-run programming during a nearly monthlong dispute with the Dish Network (Stock Quote: DISH).
Cable providers will try to tell you there's no such thing as cord-cutting, while the NFL will disavow any alternatives to its free content. Comcast (Stock Quote: CMCSA) points to the economy when asked about the 275,000 cable subscribers it lost last quarter and the 622,000 it has lost already this year. Time Warner says the same about the 155,000 subscribers it lost last quarter, saying it can't "identify any increase in cord-cutting." Yet Verizon (Stock Quote: VZ) chief executive Ivan Seidenberg, who's seen the changes in the cable industry firsthand through his company's FiOS offerings, told The Associated Press last month that consumers' frustration with and retreat from cable -- and cable companies' reaction to it -- reminds him of the flight from landline telephones: "The first thing that happens is you deny it ... I know the drill, I have been there."