One important detail...cable systems have been placing local ads for decades. Back in the 80s you could hear the tones that told the local cable when to start/stop ads.
This may also be pressure on legal side to end the exclusive arrangement.
Now days cable can put local ad's over the feeds some that was not really do able back the last bid they made.
At the extreme lets say there is a join directv / cable deal where directv get's the missing cable only RSN channels and comcast and others get the rights to have NFL ticket. How much of the background work does directv do for NFL ST?? I head some say that ad's on rogers cable (canada) for it say only on directv in the fine print.
Hard to see us cable system (in most areas) with out some major changes get into the bars or do all games in HD (in most of there foot print) with out messing it up in some way. But then again this may be the kick in the pants that cable needs to get the out market sports HD and even in some places all in market feeds SD and HD feeds. (some cable system only have outer rings in SD / not all feeds or only have the main feed in HD and are missing alt / over feeds in HD even in the main market areas)
Also very few cable system have all the big ten alt feeds in HD.