Last night, Fox Sports West/Prime Ticket had a rare opportunity when it had three postseason games to air on its two channels. The Prime Ticket chanel had an NHL/NBA playoff doubleheader with Game 1 of Kings-St. Louis followed by Game 5 of the Memphis-Clippers series. On Fox Sports West, it was Game 1 of the Detroit-Anaheim NHL Playoff series. 

As the Kings-Blues game was winding down, it appeared things would end on time as the NHL game would end right as the Clippers game would get underway. But a funny thing happened. The Kings' Justin Williams tied it with 31.6 seconds remaining in regulation forcing overtime. 

While the Kings game went into intermission, Prime Ticket began airing the Clippers game. The Kings' Twitter account tried to reassure fans that the hockey game would be coming back once overtime was underway. In fact, Fox Sports West's Twitter account also tweeted the same information. However, what happened when overtime began in St. Louis made two fan bases angry. 

Prime Ticket went to a double box showing the Clippers on the left and the Kings on the right. But neither game went to full screen and that is how both games remained until St. Louis won in overtime on a Jonathan Quick giveaway in the Kings' zone. 

It angered both Clippers and Kings fans. Actress Alyssa Milano, who is a huge hockey fan, was especially angry.

What's interesting is that while there's no official overflow Fox Sports channel in Southern California for conflicts, one was created in April for the Dodgers and it was utilized twice. In addition, the Clippers game was on TNT and when playoff games are on either ESPN or TNT, neither channel is blacked out in the home market. The Kings game was airing on CNBC and was blacked out locally, giving Kings fans no option to see the game on a full screen. In this case, Fox Sports did not utilize the overflow channel it had created for the Dodgers conflicts and continued with the double box until the Kings game was over.

So far, there's been no explanation from Fox Sports West as to why it went to the split screen. Awful Announcing will update the story if there is an official statement from Fox Sports. 

UPDATE: Wil Wheaton, yes Wil Wheaton, also ranted about the split screen as well and the fact that the Clippers game was available on TNT while the Kings game was blacked out on CNBC.

UPDATE II: From a Fox Sports West spokesperson:

“With Clippers, Kings, and Ducks all having playoff games last night, we tried the make the best of a challenging situation and offer balanced coverage of all the teams.  In similar situations going forward, we’ll take a look a look at our plans and see if there’s a way to serve all teams and viewers better.”

Another comment was released later in the day Wednesday by the network ensuring playoff games would be aired in their entirety in the future:

“We sincerely apologize to the Kings and the Clippers and their fans,” said Steve Simpson, senior vice president and general manager, FOX Sports West and Prime Ticket. “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.”  

(Pic via The Royal Half)

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.