PHILLIES WELCOME COMCAST INTO THEIR BROADCASTING FAMILY
Published January 23, 1998
The Phillies restructured their broadcasting package, reducing its TV carriers from three to two, and adding a pre- and post-game show to its radio network. WPHL-TV, a WB affil, retains its Phillies rights, signing a one-year deal to broadcast 70 games. Comcast SportsNet is the new cable carrier for the team, and will carry 77 games. WPHT-AM, the flagship for the 18 Phillies Radio Network affils, will broadcast all 162 regular-season games, adding a 30-minute pre-game show. All regular-season games will also be broadcast at www.phillies.com (Phillies). COVERAGE: In Philadelphia, Jim Salisbury writes that 15 Phillies games will not be televised and of those 15, three will be on Fox and two will be on TBS, leaving 10 games unavailable to local fans, unless ESPN decides to take any. Phillies VP/Marketing Dennis Mannion said that conflicts with the Flyers and 76ers, and contractual stipulations, "made it impossible to televise every game." Salisbury adds that in the new deals, the Phillies "have spurned traditional rights fees in exchange for the right to control all advertising," which is a "more risky proposition," but "keeps the door open for a bigger pot of gold if the Phils suddenly become a hot commodity." Team President David Montgomery: "We can control our own destiny. But it puts the pressure on us to have a good sales year." The Phillies will get "approximately" $7-8M from Comcast, but "insiders" say that it is "not a rights fee, per se, and it doesn't affect the control of advertising" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 1/23).