SBD/Issue 57/Sports Media

Comcast Allows Verizon To Carry SportsNet On TV Service

Verizon’s TV Service In Philadelphia
To Carry Comcast SportsNet

Verizon will “start selling its new $18[B] fiber-optic TV service this week to 100,000 homes” in the Philadelphia area, as well as in South Jersey, according to Verizon and Comcast sources cited by Miriam Hill of the PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. Verizon will offer Comcast SportsNet, the channel “that has kept thousands of area customers from abandoning Comcast in favor of one of the satellite,” as well as The Golf Channel and Versus. The SportsNet agreement “comes as something of an eyebrow raiser,” as DirecTV and Dish Network “unsuccessfully lobbied Congress and the [FCC] for years to force Comcast to share its sports programming in Philadelphia.” It is “not clear why Comcast agreed to share SportsNet with Verizon.” Because of an “exemption in federal law, Comcast does not have to share its local content such as SportsNet with competitors.” But while Comcast has kept sports content from satellite competitors, “it has shared it with RCN Corp., a cable company with a small number of customers in the Philadelphia suburbs.” DirecTV VP/Government Relations Susan Eid said, “Comcast continues to deny tens of thousands of DirecTV customers and loyal Philadelphia sports fans access to their home teams while providing their [RSN] to a small cable service and now Verizon, which has yet to sign up a single customer” (PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER, 12/3).

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