When top-ranked tennis player Rafael Nadal was in danger of being upset, Fox Sports Carolinas stuck with his match in the Sony Ericsson Open, causing hockey fans to miss the first few minutes of the Carolina Hurricanes' 4-2 victory over the New York Rangers on Thursday, including Eric Staal's goal that made it 1-0.
Juan Martin del Potro of Argentina upset Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 in a match that took longer than expected. Hurricanes spokesman Kyle Hanlin said FS Carolinas made the decision to stay with the match as it went into a tiebreak at about 6:55 p.m. By the time the tennis match ended, the hockey game was 4 minutes, 17 seconds old (about 7:15 p.m.). Staal scored at 4:28, and cable subscribers got the telecast at 4:52, Hanlin said, adding that satellite TV subscribers could see the game from the start.
The HD telecast was delayed, too, on cable.
The network has informed the Canes that viewers in North Carolina will be switched to the Penguins-Canes game at 7 p.m. Saturday, regardless of how long the Florida-Vanderbilt baseball game goes.
That said, FS Carolinas simply has to do better by hockey fans in a hockey market. Even when things go right, there aren't nearly enough Canes games in HD.