Technology with attitude

DirecTV and Comcast Sportsnet: Battleground Philadelphia


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?