In the muddled year of 2007 that saw former Trail Blazer President, Steve Patterson, resign unexpectedly, to be replaced by interim President, Tod Leiweke, the Trail Blazers inked a 10 year contract with cable juggernaut, Comcast Sportsnet. Six years in, Blazer fans are still paying the price.
As many of you know, the vast majority of Blazer games are now unavailable on any other television provider. I won’t speak on the quality of Comcast as a whole (because I rather enjoy avoiding angry emails), but this monopolization of NBA telecasting issues a bitter ultimatum for pinwheel patrons; bite the bullet and double down, or simply go without.
Of the 82 Blazer games in the 2013-2014 NBA season, about 60 of them will be CSN exclusives. This means that nearly 3/4 of all Blazer games will be unavailable for non-Comcast subscribers. You can buy tickets to home games, you can drop hopeful hints to your Comcast subscribed neighbors, you can even prowl the depths of the internet for a less than legal stream, but you cannot enjoy your home team from your own home.
If you are one of the lucky(?) ones that already has Comcast, you’re all set for this season. And the season after that, and the season after that, and… *sigh*. Current President of the Portland Trail Blazers, Chris McGowan, recognizes the situation as an ongoing problem and hopes that some resolution can be reached before the contract expires in 2017.
“For me, I’m hopeful improvement will happen over time and before the end of that (contract). We’re working on that with Comcast. I don’t have any news to report. We understand it’s a situation that our fans have a lot of interest in and a lot of questions about. We’re working as hard as we can to find resolution to that situation.”
-Chris McGowan via Oregon Live
Don’t expect that resolution to come any time soon. The Blazers have virtually zero leverage and are realistically not in position to make changes. The bulk of negotiating will take place between Comcast and satellite companies that wish to air the games. At this juncture, it would appear that the rebels of Rip City will have to nervously refresh score updates instead of watching most games live.
It’s really too bad. I mean, if I’m Comcast, I’m doing the exact same thing to be honest. I’m in a unique and fortuitous position; why should I share the pie when I can Monta Ellis it? Blazer fans are the ones that suffer in all this. Not everyone is in a position to drop everything and switch to Comcast, nor should they necessarily. We just have to accept that it is what it is, but not without some rabble rousing to increase visibility.