Friday, April 22, 2011

Giants Exec Tosses Off Our Request for Waiver; Comcast Rep Provides Same Old Song ‘n Dance

We had thought Giants executive Mario Alioto might thoughtfully ponder the latest request from Giants fans in Hawaii for his organization to grant a waiver that would allow Giants games to be shown in the state, which is part of the team’s “home TV territory.” No rush, we thought, since we’re already into the third season of Giants games being blacked out here. Maybe the Easter weekend could produce a change of mind, a softening of attitudes.

It didn’t happen. Alioto quickly tossed off our email to Marisa Veroneau, Affiliate Marketing Manager at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, whose emailed response arrived three hours after ours hit Alioto’s computer (his address is

Veroneau’s email covered pretty much the same ground as what she wrote in March, with one major difference: She wrote then that Comcast won’t give up until we are done” negotiating with Time Warner “to have Comcast SportsNet fully distributed in your community.” Today’s email contains no such nose-to-the-grindstone commitment. Instead, she asserts that “our Giants coverage is available to every local Hawaii TV provider, and as a result of our negotiations, DirecTV and Dish Network now carry Comcast SportsNet locally on terms that all parties are fair and reasonable.” It ends with her advice to “consider changing your service to DirecTV or Dish Network.”

That’s totally disingenuous, of course. Those two networks have managed to capture only 6 percent of the Hawaii television households, leaving the rest of them blacked out for Giants games. As we wrote in our response to Veroneau, “the market has spoken loudly about our preference, and DirecTV and Dish Network are not it. You are repeating the same mantra you’ve used for the past two years.”

Big League Stew, a Yahoo Sports column, today picked up on Ferd Lewis’s Honolulu Star-Advertiser recent column and joined the movement to end the blackout. The Stew noted an important angle worth repeating: “The MLB allows six teams to lick Hawaii’s donut (by including the state in their home territories), even if there’s no chance that its providers can pay all their regional networks for the privilege of airing their games.” With the Angels and Dodgers already in the expense column, maybe Oceanic Time Warner’s reluctance to cut a deal with Comcast SportsNet Bay Area stems from a simple inability to pay. Here’s what an Oceanic executive wrote to us in February:

“For years the only regional sports available to us was provided by Fox West and Fox Prime Ticket. Rates were very low and both have been carried on our Analog Expanded Basic for over 30 years. It wasn’t until Comcast’s recent acquisition of Bay Area Giants and Oakland A’s that there was even the possibility of carrying those teams but unfortunately, the rate being asked for access to 2 teams of interest in Hawaii makes no business sense. Because of our ‘close’ proximity to the market, they are prohibiting us to put the Giants and A’s on a sports tier. That means it would go on our standard service and all our subscribers would see a rate increase on their monthly cable bill, north of 6%.”

So there you go – a rock-ribbed standoff between two corporate giants that leaves Giants fans out of luck and thankful for whatever comes our way – like the 12 games KITV will carry this summer. We urge all baseball fans in Hawaii to write Mario Alioto at the above address and ask him to waive the “home TV territory” clause, thereby allowing Giants games to be streamed by to Hawaii in the absence of a Comcast-Time Warner deal. The blackout affects not only Giants (and A’s) fans but also fans of all Major League teams that play the Giants and A’s during the season.

Here’s Veroneau’s emailed reply on Alioto’s behalf:

Mr. Carlson,

Mario Alioto at the Giants passed on your email to me for the latest information regarding our network’s carriage status in Hawaii. Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and our Giants coverage is available to every local Hawaii TV provider, and as a result of our negotiations, both DirecTV and Dish Network now carry Comcast SportsNet locally on terms that all parties agree are fair and reasonable.

We have offered these same terms to Time Warner Oceanic, but to date, Time Warner Oceanic has opted not to make Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and our Giants coverage available to their customers. We encourage you to contact Time Warner Oceanic to let them know you want to see the Giants on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area by emailing or calling 808-643-2100 or consider changing your service to DirecTV or Dish Network.

Marisa Veroneau
Comcast SportsNet

1 comment:

  1. I did get DirecTV about 4 years ago (so I could watch the Giants). The service was terrible. Any wind would destroy the reception. Finally, in heavy tradewinds, the dish literally blew off my roof leaving significant damage to the metal roof. DirecTV refused to remove the dish or repair the damage to the roof. Unless DirecTV has significantly upgraded their service, it is not a viable option if you get any winds at all.