MORE DETAILS ON COMCAST'S NEW PHILADELPHIA SPORTS CHANNEL
Comcast SportsNet, which will carry the Phillies, 76ers
and Flyers starting in October, will charge local cable
companies $1.50 a month per subscriber, and "when that
programming cost is passed on to subscribers, 2.5 million
cable customers ... could wind up paying more," than the
than they did to see the teams on Prism and SportsChannel
Philadelphia, according to Michael Rozansky of the
PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER. The $1.50 per subscriber monthly
charge will make Comcast SportsNet "one of the most
expensive -- if not the most expensive" basic cable channel
in the U.S. Analyst John Mansell of Paul Kagan Associates:
"That's probably about as high as it goes for a nonpremium
service." Rozansky adds that at $1.50 per subscriber,
Comcast SportsNet is "much costlier" than SportsChannel
Philadelphia, which charged operators $0.25-0.35 monthly per
subscriber, "but which carried only half as many games."
National channel like ESPN and CNN cost roughly $0.75 a
month per subscriber. MSG Network and SportsChannel Chicago
charge monthly fees of $1.25 and $1.40, respectively.
Comcast SportsNet President Jack Williams said that its new
channel will "have more local programming than any other"
RSNs in the U.S., and that it would run seven-eight hours of
live sports, "apart from games, including a four-hour
morning news block." Williams: "No one is doing anything
close to what we're doing here" (PHILA. INQUIRER, 7/27).
MASS REVENUE? Rozansky: "Instead of going with a high-
priced premium service bought by a few hundred thousand
people ... Comcast is offering a basic cable channel paid
for and potentially seen by millions of viewers." A
Philadelphia-area cable operator, who asked not to be
identified, told Rozansky: "Everyone's going to pay for
sports teams that 30 percent of the market watches."
Rozansky writes that industry sources "and simple math
suggest" that the channel will bring in $45M in subscriber
and operator fees -- "about" 50% more than the $30M Prism
and SportsChannel Philadelphia generated from subscribers --
and "up to" $10M in advertising (PHILA. INQUIRER, 7/27).