I have no idea if a new local chapter of something called the Sports Fans Coalition
can move the needle on getting access for Portland Trail Blazers
fans throughout the Northwest to watching their team on games broadcast by Comcast
. But good on coalition organizers for trying. Here's a release from the group that we got this morning, as well as links where you can go to support the effort:
Washington, D.C. At the request of the Oregon State Legislature, Sports Fans Coalition sends board member Brad Blakeman to testify in the Oregon State House Committee on Consumer Protection and Government Accountability concerning Comcast's egregious practice of shutting out Portland Trail Blazers fans from the ability to watch their home games on TV. While Comcast seeks permission to merge with NBC Universal, Blakeman asks, 'Why can't Trail Blazers fans in Oregon ask to see their home games first?'
At the outset of the ten-year contract struck between Comcast and the Portland Trail Blazers, Comcast promised Oregon sports fans that they would eventually get to view their home games regardless of who provided their TV. "Almost three years after the Comcast/Blazers deal," Blakeman notes, "only Comcast cable subscribers and a few subscribers to small cable systems can watch every game the Blazers play at home."
To more adequately address the issues that face sports fans in Oregon, Sports Fans Coalition launches the first Local Chapter today based in Portland. The Chair of SFC Portland, Sarah Moon, shares the experience of many Trail Blazers fans with friends and family currently shut out of Blazers' broadcasts much to their discontent. SFC Portland will serve as a home for sports fans to share their frustrations and as a voice for the local community seeking to organize consumers to speak up and demand results from government and industry.
If a media giant like Comcast acts in such a way as to provoke an entire state of sports fans today with such disingenuous behavior, it is evident that preconditions should be applied to the company's bid to acquire NBC Universal before real consideration is given to approval of the merger. "Oregon sports fans," Blakeman continues, "you deserve better."
The Sports Fans Coalition's agenda advocates that sports fans should be able to watch their local teams play, regardless of how fans get their games. There should be no local sports exclusives. Now that the FCC has voted in favor of the sports fan, the Sports Fans Coalition will be acutely focused on the execution of the ruling in Oregon as well as in every state across the country.
On February 19th, Sports Fans Coalition joined a group of twelve industry associations, labor organizations, and public interest groups in creating and sending a letter urging Comcast President and CEO Brian Roberts to drop litigation seeking to overturn the FCC's decision to ensure that programming owned by cable operators is shared with competing cable and satellite TV providers so that sports fans are not left out in the cold asking 'Where are my games?'
To read the letter, go to http://www.sportsfanscoalition.org/2010/02/sports-fans-coalition-sends-letter-to-comcast/
Sign the petition online at http://www.sportsfanscoalition.org/category/petitions/to-the-fcc/