SBD/Issue 128/Sports Media

Comcast SportsNet Bay Area Taking Over Giants, A's Broadcasts

Giants, A's Games To Air On
Comcast SportsNet Bay Area 
FSN Bay Area is changing its name to Comcast SportsNet Bay Area at 12:00pm PT Monday after Comcast "bought a controlling interest" in the RSN in June, according to Tom FitzGerald of the S.F. CHRONICLE. CSN Bay Area will be added to the MSO's "nine other regional-sports-programming operations." Comcast officials said that the switch will mean "more pregame and postgame shows on the local pro teams, more [HD] telecasts of their games, several hours of daily local sports-news shows and a daily talk show of at least an hour involving local sportswriters." On-air graphics, animation and music also will change. CSN Bay Area VP & GM Ted Griggs said that when a local studio is completed it will "house between 50 and 80 newly hired people." FitzGerald notes the net will air 140 MLB Giants games and 80 A's games, and pregame and postgame shows "will be far more prevalent on Comcast than they were on FSNBA." There will be 50 Giants pregame and 65 postgame shows compared to 25 and zero last year, respectively. The net will also air 20 A's pregame and 40 postgame shows, up from 15 and zero in '07. Griggs and CSN President Jon Litner "insisted that the station will not skew its news coverage in favor of the Giants at the expense of the A's, even though the Giants have an equity stake in the operation." Litner: "What you can expect is honest and fair reporting." FitzGerald notes the RSN will air 100 MLB games in HD and intends to "greatly increase its [VOD] catalog," as MLB has given local teams the rights to allow VOD of games (S.F. CHRONICLE, 3/26).

BEATING THE COMPETITION: In San Jose, John Ryan reports there could be a "trouble spot in the distance" as Comcast is well known for "using sports channels as leverage in its battles with competitors." Litner said CSN Bay Area will be "platform agnostic" and DirecTV confirmed that there is "no change in access." Ryan notes things still "could get interesting" in future contract negotiations, "or if a version of what's now [FSN Plus] emerges to handle the extra volume" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 3/26).

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