Ah, tomorrow looks like a great football day here in rural south Salem. It'll probably be raining, which makes for an outdoor chore-free afternoon. Plus, both the Beavers and Ducks football games are televised.
Oregon State vs. Louisville and Oregon vs. Portland State University -- here I come! All I have to do is fire up my HD DirecTV, which gets jillions (more or less) of channels for the billions of bucks (or so it seems) I pay for programming every month.
Oh. Forgot. DirecTV doesn't carry a certain channel.
Comcast SportsNet Northwest, which happens to be the freakin' channel I need to see the Ducks roll up, over, and through the PSU Vikings. Most likely. Hey, sports miracles do happen.
I've been through this frustration before, when DirecTV dropped the Versus sports channel, leaving me to listen to an OSU-Arizona game on a tinny-sounding radio. Versus is owned by Comcast, so we've got the same cast of characters playing out the current Comcast versus DirecTV pissing match.
In this instance it sure looks like Comcast is the bad guy. The head of the Sports Fan Coalition says this in "Comcast is holding Trail Blazers fans hostage, you could be next."
People in Portland love their beer. At last count, Portland had more breweries than any other city in the country. But Portlanders also love their Trail Blazers. The city has one of the most passionate fan bases in the NBA. Yet, for the last few years they've been getting a raw deal. And not just at the hands of the Lakers.
Comcast is the biggest villain in Portland right now.
...In 2007, the Trail Blazers signed a 10-year, $120 million agreement with Comcast, giving the company the rights to show Trail Blazer games on Comcast Sports Network. Not surprisingly, Comcast then jacked up the fees for other cable and satellite carriers in the region to show Blazers games. In effect, Comcast is forcing customers to switch to Comcast in order to see Blazers games. (Comcast has signed agreements with local cable carriers who don't compete with Comcast.)
Nevermind that Blazers fans in rural areas can't even get Comcast service (or local cable service) if they wanted to.
Yeah, that's me. A fan in a rural area.
I'm not a big Blazers fan, but I like to watch college football and other sports. Out here in the boonies there isn't any cable TV. Just satellite. And Comcast is demanding an excessive amount for SportsNet NW in an obvious attempt to get new subscribers.
Except, of course, lots of people in Oregon can't subscribe to Comcast because it isn't available. Nonetheless, Comcast says "screw them; they can listen to the Blazers, Ducks, and Beavers on a tinny radio."
Oregonian sports columnist singles out the same evil-doer in the SportsNet NW access battle: Comcast.
Canby serves as a case study of why the Trail Blazers made a major blunder three seasons ago when they gave Comcast exclusive rights to broadcast their games on Comcast SportsNet Northwest.
Before Comcast showed up Canby Telcom had televised Blazers games for years without an issue. The relationship between the franchise and the cable company was just fine until the Blazers signed a 10-year, $120 million agreement to give exclusivity to Comcast.
That move threatens to rip apart the fan base at the seams.
Because Comcast moved in, hiked rates for the channel, and used the Blazers as if they were a crow bar to pry non-Comcast customers from their satellite and cable providers.
The Federal Communication Commission mandates that Comcast make the channel available to all competitors, and so it is -- just not at a price many can stomach.
I moved to Salem from Portland in 1977. We bought a house in town that had cable. Every Trail Blazers game, so far as I remember, was shown. For no extra charge. I became a big fan, watching the 1977-78 team win the NBA championship.
Times have changed. Greed is dominating Comcast's corporate decisions.
The Trail Blazers management has asked the FCC to force Comcast to make their games available to subscribers of other programmers like DirecTV and Dish Network. But they're locked into a stupid ten year agreement that gives Comcast the right to televise most Blazers games, but doesn't contain an ironclad requirement that the feed be shared with DirecTV, Dish, et. al.
So I'll be watching the Beavers tomorrow, not the Ducks. Nor PSU. This would be a big televised stage for Portland State to play on -- Vikings vs. Ducks in Autzen Stadium -- but lots of Oregon sports fans won't be able to see them.
I'll send some curses Comcast's way when the PSU - Oregon game starts at 3:15 pm. Maybe if enough people emit sufficient negative energy, it'll jolt the money-mad Comcast execs out of their irritating "let them watch ESPN" attitude.