When the Phillies struck their 25-year, $2.5 billion television contract with Comcast Sportsnet, part of NBCUniversal, in January, many expected their cable fees in increase. Well, this might be the time and there is more to the story.
The deal includes the addition of 33 Phillies games to Comcast Sportsnet's schedule, games that used to air on PHL17. That was reported when the deal was struck so that isn't new at this point. But there are new developments.
The Philadelphia Inquirer's Bob Fernandez reports "Comcast Sportsnet Philadelphia is asking pay-TV operators to pay for those additional games" including Comcast! That strikes me as wild. Anyways, Comcast has obviously agreed to pay the extra fees because that would be a PR nightmare having Comcast battle Comcast Sportsnet on something.
Here's the kicker.
Fernandez goes on to say "the sports network has warned that it would black out 33 Phillies games on the TV systems that decline to pay." And, FiOS customers might not be happy to hear this, he quotes a FIOS spokesperson as saying the company "has not yet reached an agreement regarding the surcharge."
Right now, FiOS is slated to be blacked out of those 33 games. Ouch.
So basically Verizon fails to pay the surcharge then their customers will miss 33 Phillies games this season due to blackout. Or Verizon could pay the surcharge to keep their customers happy and essentially tell Comcast Sportsnet that Verizon is at their mercy when it comes to demands.
Tough spot for the company. Sounds like a lose-lose situation from a business standpoint.
Follow Steve on Twitter @SDolan3
Follow Whiz Wit on Twitter @WhizWitSports