Blackout rules are definitely not established by us. Unlike the rest of our business, I don't necessarily understand them either.
But I asked our guy in charge of that type of programming and here is the reponse I received:
"It all depends on various scenarios. The NBA, NHL, MLB, etc. decide what games get blacked out by regions. Here is an example, when the Tampa Bay Lighting plays at home, ESPN can not show the game because Sunshine has the rights to show it in the surrounding territory of the Tampa Bay Lighting. Same applies for the Orlando Magic.
As far as Baseball, Soccer etc. it depends on which channel (ESPN, Sunshine or others) have the rights to that particular team. "
I still not sure I understand. I would also add that the NFL imposes local blackouts when the game isn't sold out.
This is really a question for Sunshine. But I would imagine it has something to do with availability of the equipment to do HD. At one point, there were only 3 HD production trucks criss-crossing the county covering various games. I'm sure there's more now, but without knowing which teams would be playing where, in which regional, it would be a nightmare to schedule. BHN can't distribute what Sunshine doesn't shoot...
I've still got you on my list. I'll send you a PM to discuss.