NHL Gamecenter Sucks

April 12, 2012 at 10:52 pm

This is a little bit off topic from the usual political fare, but NHL Gamecenter is a perfect metaphor for our current economy- a company that rather than provide a quality service, looks to sell you something which sounds good on the surface until you discover the fine print.

Here’s what they say when you go to sign up for their service:


  • Stream live out-of-market games or enjoy classic games from NHL Vault™*
  • Watch full-length and condensed replays of games you missed
  • Keep track of stats, standings, news, and more

Sounds good, right? Up to 40 games a week. Some might be blacked out, but only games which are out of market.

What does “stream live out-of-market games” mean?

The NFL considers a market a major U.S. city. This is evident in their blackout policy for home games which are not sold out. For example, I live in Cincinnati. When our homes games don’t sell out, the NFL blacks out the game in our market.

Let me tell you what NHL Gamecenter means by “out of market“.

They mean that if any network is showing a game on TV in the U.S. or Canada you will not get this game.

If it’s shown on Hockey Night in Canada on the CBC, you cannot get this game. Nevermind if you live in Canada or not. Canada is considered “in market“.

If games are shown on Versus or any other network anywhere in the United States, you cannot watch the game.

If you live on the East Coast, this means that West Coast games because those are considered “in market” if they’re on anything but a local TV station somewhere in the United States. Same for East Coast games if you live on the West Coast.

So on any given night during the regular season, there are typically 1-2 games which you can’t watch. Usually the best match-ups.

What about the playoffs?

Now I could live with that. Here’s what gets me.

ALL PLAYOFF games are televised. This means NO PLAYOFF GAMES are televised on NHL Gamecenter. None. Zero. Nada. Zilch.

Now NHL Gamecenter doesn’t tell you this when you sign up. You find out out about it when you’re all excited that the playoffs are starting and you turn on your ROKU and try to find a game and none of them are available.

Then you call customer service and the first message you hear is that ALL PLAYOFF GAMES ARE BLACKED OUT.

I would never have bought NHL Gamecenter if I’d of known this. So I contacted customer support to ask for a refund of my final month’s payment (the final playoff month).

Here’s what they told me when I asked about the playoffs:

 The playoffs are included, but blacked out for the U.S. and Canada.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but the NHL only has U.S. and Canadian teams.

Translation: How the f*ck can they be included if they’re not included in U.S. and Canada?

How’s customer support?

Here is most of my conversation with Customer Support.

Long story short: This service is a complete RIPOFF. If you are thinking about this, it is not worth it. You might as well spend the $160 at a bar watching games. Because you’re going to have to anyways.

They must get a lot of calls about this issues because they have a prepared statement ready:

Unfortunately we are unable to cancel your account at this time. Each subscriber has 5 days to cancel from the day the package was ordered or activated, as agreed upon in the Terms and Conditions. Your activation date was on . The day it was activated counts as one of the 5 days. Your purchase was for the Full Season, but you chose to pay it off in 8 “Monthly Installments”. The NHL does not offer a month to month service that can be canceled at any time, just the full season with the option to pay it in full upfront, or to pay it off on monthly installments. We encourage you to take advantage of your purchase and enjoy the rest of this NHL season. You have been removed from the automatic renewal for the 2012/2013 Season for GameCenter Live, so your account will cancel after your last payment. We hope you enjoy your service with NHL.com.

I’d like to enjoy the rest of the NHL season. Unfortunately, NHL GameCenter, I can’t on your network because you offer such a horrible ripoff of a service.

Never again.