DirecTV and Comcast Sportsnet: Battleground Philadelphia

DirecTV and Comcast Sportsnet: Battleground Philadelphia

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The Philadelphia 76ers opened up their season earlier this week  against the new Beast of the East, and I wasn’t watching.  As Lebron and DWade and Chris Bosh stepped on the court against Evan Turner in his debut, I was listening to it on the radio.  The problem: I have DirecTV.

I live in condominium complex in a suburb of Philadelphia.  The Comcast reception (yes, the Comcast reception) is not good where I live.  (When it rains in my complex, the area where the Comcast wires run gets flooded.)  So I chose DirecTv.  And I chose against having Comcast, who has it deathgrip on Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia.

All Phillies season, I used my AtBat 2010 app on my iPhone to listen to the Fightin’s.  I have really grown to enjoy listening to Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen, but that is another story.  I could only actually watch over a buddies house or my parents house, or wait for those Sunday games on PHL 17.

Earlier this year, the FCC ruled that Comcast could no longer use the “terrestrial loophole”, which stated in this case that Comcast did not have to share Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia with satellite providers because it was not beamed over a satellite.  Both DirecTV and Dish Network have placed formal requests in for CSN Philly, but as we are reaching the end of the year, there has been no movement nor new information.

Comcast really has no reason to budge.  They own majority stock in both the Flyers and the Sixers, and broadcasting their games plus Phillies games allows them to continue with their stranglehold on the Philadelphia.  Satellite has one of its lowest penetration rates in Philadelphia of all major  U.S.  cities.  Plus, Comcast has their sights set higher — the NFL Package.

The Comcast Center, the new tallest building in Philadelphia.

DirecTV’s main feature is “The Package” as it’s called.  For those of you living in a bubble, The Package allows you to watch all NFL games as they happen.  For the same reasons that Comcast doesn’t want to let go of CSN Philly, why would DirecTV give up on The Package?

Truth be told, who is taking the biggest hit here?  The customer.  As a DirecTV customer, overall I am very happy with my service.  I lose signal only in the worst of storms and I pay much less than I would as a Comcast customer.  However, I have to go out of my way to watch the sports that I want to watch.  My most recent email to DirecTV informed me that they did not have CSN Philly in their programming.  I have contacted the FCC for information, but have yet to hear back.  Until then, who wants to have me as a guest for the next Flyers game?

  • Chuck

    As a customer we are taking the biggest hit. Im sick of comcast saying the NFL ticket is the problem. Comcast got outbid for the ticket that’s why they don’t have it. They had the same opportunity to have exclusive rights to the NFL Sunday ticket. The biggest difference is that comcast owns comcast sportsnet along with the sixers and flyers. Directv does not own the Sunday ticket nor a single NFL franchise. I’m not sure how they continue to get away with this but hopefully the FCC steps in soon and handles this.
    Sincerely
    bitter and angry party of the city of Philadelphia

    • http://www.culturemob.com/philadelphia/sports Joshua Stein

      Chuck,
      I totally agree. Cable companies keep finding ways to up-charge their customers (see the NFL network/ Comcast fiasco about a year ago and the current Dish/Fox thng in NY). It’s ridiculous. I choose DirecTV and I’m pretty happy with the service (and I pay about half as much as my parents), but I shouldn’t have to choose price over the sports I love. Thanks for the comment and keep reading.

  • Matt

    Have been driven to insanity by this issue for years now. I live in southern DE and in many rural areas Comcast isn’t available, so Directv is the only option. Problem is since I live in a CSN Philly zone, all Philly games on Comcast are blocked.
    I have heard there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Philadelphia fans that are in the same predicament. I wonder how many fans they are abandoning if not losing over their marriage with Comcast.

    …and btw, comparing NFL Sunday Ticket to CSN-Philly is comparing Microsoft to the Laptop Shop… No way Directv should even have to consider giving up that giant for local rights to csn-philly.

  • Michael

    I gave up DirecTV and Tivo two years ago for Verizon Fios so we could finally watch Phillies games. After two years I’m still annoyed with my 20 hour DVR and lousy graphic user interface. I work across the street from the Comcast Center in Philadelpia. I’m sure thereis an entire floor of lawyers who’s monthly and yearly bonuses are based on how long they can delay relinquishing the Comcast sports teams from Philadelphia to Philadelphia area DirecTV and Dish Network customers.

  • cvzn

    Let’s just get this channel

  • http://www.phillyinjurylawyer.com/ Philly Citizen

    DirecTV is better in Philly.

  • http://twitter.com/iHeartHockey31 iHeartHockey

    Why is it still OK for Comcast to ignore the FCC despite the closing of the Terrestial Loophole, the upholding of the closing of the Terrestial Loophole [via an appeal from CableVision/MSG which was turned down] & specific directives included in the FCC’s approval when Comcast purchased NBC that stated Comcast MUST make it’s regional sports programming available to competing DBSs?
    So Comcast REFUSE to accept money from DISH & DirecTV which would have counted towards the NHL’s HRR, the turns around and tells players, they need to take paycuts because there isn’t enough HRR to do a 50/50 split & pay their contracted salaries. If they’re going to turn down money from Dish & DirecTV that should go to the players, shouldn’t Comcast be making that money up somehow?

  • http://twitter.com/iHeartHockey31 iHeartHockey

    Why is it still OK for Comcast to ignore the FCC despite the closing of the Terrestial Loophole, the upholding of the closing of the Terrestial Loophole [via an appeal from CableVision/MSG which was turned down] & specific directives included in the FCC’s approval when Comcast purchased NBC that stated Comcast MUST make it’s regional sports programming available to competing DBSs?
    So Comcast REFUSE to accept money from DISH & DirecTV which would have counted towards the NHL’s HRR, the turns around and tells players, they need to take paycuts because there isn’t enough HRR to do a 50/50 split & pay their contracted salaries. If they’re going to turn down money from Dish & DirecTV that should go to the players, shouldn’t Comcast be making that money up somehow?