DENVER – Nuggets fans will be able to watch Tuesday night’s Game 5 against the Blazers locally after all after blackout restrictions were lifted for the game Tuesday hours before tip-off.
Had the restrictions not been lifted, fans in Colorado would not have been able to watch the game unless they have DirecTV and Altitude Sports or wanted to chance an illegal stream.
Now, fans will be able to watch the crucial Game 5 on NBA TV in addition to Altitude, which is not available through Comcast or DISH due to the ongoing dispute with those companies and Altitude.
The Denver Post first reported the lifting of the restrictions on Tuesday afternoon.
Had the blackout not been lifted, the NBA’s rules would have required it be blacked out on NBA TV locally, as was Thursday’s Game 3.
Several Nuggets and Avalanche fans Denver7 spoke with Tuesday called the ongoing fight between the networks “disappointing” and “ridiculous,” but said they were glad they would be able to watch Tuesday’s game.
“It’s ridiculous,” said Adam Kroner. “I just wish they would figure it out. Like, as a fan, we’ll do whatever we can on our part to make it a little more streamlined for us.”
Ian Lyng, a Nuggets fan whose parents live outside the U.S., said it’s been hard for him to talk with him family about games because of restrictions. He says he made the switch to DirecTV to be able to watch on Altitude.
“They’re the only ones that provide it and I really wanted to watch the Avalanche and Nuggets – especially with the quarantine. There’s not a whole lot to do except to watch the home team.”
He called the blackout situation “Kind of mind-blowing.”
“It seems like you have to jump through a lot of unnecessary hoops just to cheer on your home team,” Lyng said.
“I hope for the best, absolutely,” Kroner said of the impasse between the companies. “I’m sure they’ll figure it out – hopefully. Eventually. Sooner rather than later is always a better thing.”
House Speaker Alec Garnett, D-Denver, said he and other lawmakers have looked at possible legislative solutions.“For Coloradans to worry that they won’t be able to watch the games … is ridiculous,” he said. “No local market should be blacked out.”
Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn, said the blackouts were only happening “because these billionaires can’t get something done.”
“We really wanted to try to give these entities an opportunity to try to solve this and to come to the table and put the fans first, and that’s something that hasn’t happened,” Mullica said.
Kroenke Sports and Entertainment says it petitioned the NBA to lift the local blackout for Tuesday’s game and maintains that Comcast is stopping a deal from happening with Altitude.
“It’s a shame that Comcast and Dish continue to dismiss their most passionate customers – Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche fans,” KSE COO Matt Hutchings said in a statement. “That is why Altitude took this step to seek NBA approval to ensure all Nuggets fans could see their hometown team play in this crucial playoff game.”
In an interview, Hutchings said the ownership group believes it is putting a good deal on the table, and that fans are only being hurt by the lack of a deal.
"We just want to get a deal done," he said. "We will continue to work with the league to ensure their fans get the games. That's what they want and that's what they deserve. That's all we've been trying to do."
The Nuggets-Blazers series is tied at 2 apiece after Portland blew out Denver in Game 4 on Saturday. The Nuggets will host the Blazers at Ball Arena, where they are 25-11 on the season.
Tuesday’s game starts at 7 p.m.