- United States of America
MSG Network has been in the Utica and Albany area since its inception as a network in 1969. This has allowed the Rangers and Knicks to develop a strong following and fanbase in these respective areas since.
These two areas have been broadcasted the Rangers from 1969 to 2006 up until the Buffalo Sabres went bankrupt and lost their own broadcast network, Empire Sports Network. As a result, they reached a deal that allowed the Sabres to be on MSG in certain areas. Included in these areas are Albany and Utica, which were not previously broadcasted Sabres areas/markets.
When the Rangers and Sabres have a home and home conflict, the Sabres are put on over the Rangers, which is to the ire of many local fans, even including Devils and Islanders, etc. This is for the NHL to realize that these areas are in fact, NOT Sabres markets, and to prove this, there is even an online sports fanbase census which proves that neither Utica or Albany are Sabres fanbases, as provided here: http://www.commoncensus.org/maps/nhl_1280.gif
As you can see, neither Utica or Albany are primarily Sabres markets, with Utica being Rangers and Albany being Bruins, with some Devils and Islanders. The NHL needs to re-do its marketing scheme, because its not attracting new fans in these areas, its just pissing people off who are unable to watch their favorite team, which was never the case before 2006. This is a recent issue involving who is now broadcasted on television. The Albany area is even closer to 6 other NHL teams and is shown the Buffalo Sabres as the home broadcast.
Quite frankly, its absurd, and it wasn't this way before 2006, so why the abrupt change? The NHL is not acclimating its non-existent majority Sabre fanbase in Albany or Utica. I've met a ton of hockey fans left in the dark and wondering why.