Comcast SportsNet Northwest

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Comcast SportsNet Northwest
CSNNorthwest.png
Launched November 1, 2007
Network Comcast SportsNet
Owned by NBCUniversal
Picture format 480i (SDTV)
1080i (HDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Oregon
Washington
Headquarters Portland, Oregon
Sister channel(s) NBC Sports
Website www.csnnw.com
Availability
Cable
Available on several systems in Oregon and Washington Check local listings

Comcast SportsNet Northwest (CSN Northwest) is an American regional sports network that operates as an affiliate of Comcast SportsNet and covers local sports teams throughout the Northwestern United States, particularly Oregon. It is owned by the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal. The Portland Trail Blazers and Oregon Ducks are the main attractions, but the channel also covers other northwestern U.S. sports including college and high school teams.[1] Comcast SportsNet Northwest is locally run out of an office in Portland, Oregon. The channel launched on November 1, 2007.

Programming[edit]

Portland Trail Blazers[edit]

After the Trail Blazers dismantled their pay-per-view network BlazerVision in 2001, the team's games were moved to FSN Northwest, where the team's games remained through the 2006–07 season. FSN did not renew their contract with the Blazers at the conclusion of the 2006–07 season, as a result, Comcast SportsNet Northwest was formed to take over the broadcast rights.

During its launch season, Comcast SportsNet Northwest carried at least 55 regular-season Trail Blazers games. When combined with the Trail Blazers' over-the-air coverage, 81 regular-season Trail Blazers games were on television, the most in the team's history. The new network aired 28 of the 36 home games in high definition.[2]

During the 2008–09 season, the NBA allowed Comcast SportsNet Northwest to expand its Trail Blazers coverage into the Seattle area. Comcast SportsNet had been prohibited from broadcasting Trail Blazers' games in Seattle during prior seasons due to the presence of the former Seattle SuperSonics, who moved to Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 2008 to become the Oklahoma City Thunder. Unlike its other affiliates, Trail Blazers games on the network use a different graphics package carried over from Portland NBC affiliate KGW (channel 8).

University of Oregon Ducks[edit]

The University of Oregon Ducks' sports broadcasting network, the Oregon Sports Network (OSN), was looking for more air time and availability. When Comcast SportsNet Northwest launched, Oregon Sports Network negotiated a contract with the channel to air many of the university's football and basketball games that were not scheduled to be aired nationally or on FSN. In 2008, Comcast SportsNet became the main channel for OSN. Games broadcast by CSN Northwest for OSN are simulcast on Fox affiliate KLSR-TV (channel 34) in Eugene, Oregon. In 2012, no Oregon football games aired on Comcast SportsNet.

Other[edit]

Other programming includes expanded pre-game and post-game Trail Blazers analysis, selected summer league, pre-season and playoff games, a season preview, and specials focused on the NBA draft, the All-Star Game, and the playoffs. Comcast SportsNet Northwest also covers a variety of other sports relevant to fans in the region and produces a daily morning news program with the latest highlights, updates and stats. The network will provide fans with multimedia sports content online and through video on demand.[3] Comcast SportsNet Northwest maintains a studio in the Moda Center to provide up-to-date coverage of the Blazers.

Comcast SportsNet Northwest carries 25 Vancouver Canucks NHL games per season, using the feed from Rogers Sportsnet Pacific. Using relationships with other Comcast-owned channels, CSN Northwest also broadcasts 35 other games from around the league; However in 2011, Comcast SportsNet Northwest announced that their NHL schedule will feature the Vancouver Canucks and the San Jose Sharks. Later in 2011, CSN Northwest announced it would no longer air the Sharks. Additionally, the channel offers select Portland Winter Hawks home games from the WHL.

Comcast SportsNet Northwest also simulcasts two sports radio shows. Dave "Softy" Mahler's radio talk program from Seattle-based sports radio station KJR (950 AM) is shown live from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. The FAN, from Portland's KFXX is shown from 3-6 p.m.

During the 2009 Pacific Coast League baseball season, Comcast SportsNet Northwest began carrying selected Tacoma Rainiers games live. Rainiers radio play-by-play man Mike Curto would call the games on radio and the audio would be simulcast on the television broadcast.

On March 12, 2014, CSNNW announced that they will be carrying all but one of the home games of the Arena Football League's Portland Thunder for their inaugural 2014 season.[4]

Availability[edit]

As of September 2013, Comcast (Oregon and Washington), Ashland TV, Beaver Creek Telcom, BendBroadband,[5] Canby Telcom,[6] Charter Communications (Oregon and Washington), Country Cablevision, Frontier Communications (Oregon and Washington), MINET (Monmouth, Oregon),[7] Monroe Telephone, Reliance Connects, Scio Cablevision, Verizon FiOS (Portland and Seattle), and Wave Broadband are carrying the channel.[8][9]

Carriage controversies[edit]

As of August 2013, the channel is unavailable on DirecTV and Dish Network. DirecTV and Dish Network maintain that Comcast is negotiating in bad faith. For example, on one hand Comcast argues that the channel must be on a lower tier with the most customers.[10] At the same time, Comcast argues that non-Comcast-owned sports channels should be shown only on a sports tier.[11] The Trail Blazers are said to be frustrated and disappointed by the conduct of Comcast over their contract with CSN.[12]

The Consumer Protection Committee of the Oregon House of Representatives held a hearing on February 24, 2010 to help get the channel on DirecTV, Dish Network and Charter Communications. No one from DirecTV, Dish Network, or the Trail Blazers attended.[13]

On June 21, 2010, the Trail Blazers asked the Federal Communications Commission to require Comcast to make Trail Blazers games available to competing multichannel programming distributors such as DirecTV and Dish Network.[14]

One Oregon cable company, Canby Telcom, has objected to the additional annual charge in excess of $32 being required to be charged per customer in 2012 and has announced plans to stop carrying the channel.[15] Canby Telcom President Keith Galitz is quoted as saying "That's just too steep an increase for us, and it's not in line with inflation or normal escalation of prices in the industry."[15] Canby Telcom had announced plans to discontinue the channel as Comcast had offered a non-negotiable fee increase that would bring the annual per subscriber charge to over $32.[15] Canby Telcom has accused Comcast of raising rates way beyond the rate of inflation and industry-wide increases.[15] Clear Creek Television, which carried the Trail Blazers for 15 years, was rebuffed when even attempting to negotiate the above-market rate Comcast pushed at Clear Creek.[15]

"Comcast clearly sees the public perception of its treatment of sports fans as a potential Achilles heel in efforts to acquire NBCU", said Sports Fan Coalition Executive Director Brian Frederick, discussing how Comcast sent senior staff members to Oregon when a member of the Sports Fan Coalition testified before the Oregon Legislature on Comcast's denial of access to hundreds of thousands of customers of DirecTV, Dish, and other cable operators.[16]

In a November 7, 2010 article, Blazers CEO Larry Miller continued to express frustration about the lack of availability.[17]

Comcast SportsNet Northwest HD[edit]

Comcast SportsNet Northwest HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of Comcast SportsNet Northwest. CSN Northwest broadcast 28 Portland Trail Blazers home games in HD in the 2007–08 season[18] and 32 games were shown in HD for 2008–09. Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett stated on the air during the April 13 game against the Clippers that all games would air in HD from then on.

CSN Northwest is available on basic cable and in high-definition to Comcast subscribers throughout Oregon and southwest Washington state. Comcast subscribers in Washington state (specifically Seattle-Tacoma and Spokane cable markets) were not getting CSN Northwest in high-definition until earlier in 2013. Subscribers can now find Comcast SportsNet Northwest HD on Channel 617. CSN Northwest is only available on Comcast's digital preferred package in Western Washington.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mike Rogoway, Comcast's sports channels fuel bidding war, May 29, 2007
  2. ^ Comcast SportsNet, Blazers create network - Portland Business Journal, May 21, 2007
  3. ^ BLAZERS: Comcast Sports Net Northwest, Portland Trail Blazers Announce a New Regional Sports Network, May 21, 2007
  4. ^ CSN & Portland Thunder ink multi-year TV deal, CSNNW.com, March 11, 2014
  5. ^ "BendBroadband - Digital Cable - Channel Lineup". Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  6. ^ "Canby Telcom Channel Lineup". Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  7. ^ "MINET Channel Lineup". Retrieved 2011-12-21. 
  8. ^ "Channel Locations". Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  9. ^ Allan Brettman (August 15, 2013). "Charter, Comcast SportsNet Northwest reach agreement to broadcast Trail Blazers games". The Oregonian. Retrieved August 15, 2013. 
  10. ^ Area Blazer fans may remain left in the dark - Comcast SportsNet, which will carry 55 regular season games, is still not available in most local areas The Mail Tribune October 29, 2008
  11. ^ Sandomir, Richard (November 6, 2008). "A Game of Smashmouth Cable Football". The New York Times. Retrieved April 30, 2010. 
  12. ^ Disappointed Blazers "pursuing all of our rights" in Comcast deal The Oregonian January 7, 2010
  13. ^ Freeman, Joe (February 24, 2010). "Legislature offers sympathetic ear, but little else, to Blazers fans frustrated with Comcast". The Oregonian. Retrieved February 25, 2010. 
  14. ^ Comcast update: Trail Blazers ask FCC to force cable company to make game broadcasts available The Oregonian July 12, 2010
  15. ^ a b c d e Canzano: Frustration with Comcast grows as Trail Blazers games remain hard to get in some areas Oregon Live August 7, 2010
  16. ^ Blazer TV access: Stop hogging the ball, Comcast Oregon Live October 15, 2010
  17. ^ "Trail Blazers: As team continues to seek TV solution, events around country could affect Comcast standoff". Oregon Live. November 7, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Comcast SportsNet, Blazers create network". May 21, 2007.