Please sign petition for Phillies broadcasts

April 19, 2013

In the spring, a young man's fancy turns to romance, so it is said. But, this old man's love turns to baseball – Philadelphia Phillies baseball. Once again Comcast, in their desire to monopolize Philadelphia sports, has discriminated against Sussex County. Most Phillies games are broadcast over CSN Comcast Sports Network. When the Flyers or the 76ers are playing, they take precedence over Phillies baseball.

The Phillies are broadcast over TCN, but the TCN channel is not available in Sussex County. Some games, such as Sunday games, can be viewed on Comcast channel 9 in Sussex County. This is interesting; when there is a lightning storm anywhere in the vicinity, Channel 9 goes off the air.

A few years ago, baseball created a Major League Baseball package; almost all of the teams were included. The games were covered by Direct TV. We subscribed to DTV mainly to receive the Phillies on TV. Most of the games the Phillies played, the broadcasts were received from the opposing team announcers, regardless of whether the Phillies were at home or not.

This year, the Phillies played on Wednesday night, April 10. The Phillies were playing the New York Mets. I knew Comcast CSN would be giving their coverage to the Philadelphia 76ers. The Phillies would be on Comcast TCN, but that is unavailable in Sussex County.

Therefore, I expected to be able to get the Phillies game on Direct TV Major League Package. When I tried to get this coverage on Direct TV, the message said the Phillies and Mets were blacked out in our area. I understand the influence the New York media has and I assumed New York was causing the blackout.

On Friday night, the Phillies were playing in Miami. I tried to use Direct TV because the 76ers were playing and Comcast would offer them coverage. I turned to Direct TV and the message on the screen said unavailable, but they were searching for a channel which would provide it. In a period of time, they sent another message that said this game was unavailable in our area.

I called Direct TV to inquire why the Phillies game was blacked out. After working with four different technicians and being sent to several different channels, we never could find a place the Phillies were not blacked out. When I tried to obtain it on 621, it noted that it was blacked out, but they were searching for another channel.

After two hours of deliberation, we were informed the Phillies were unavailable. I asked to speak to someone who was the supervisor and would be able to give me an answer for the blackouts. Finally, a young technician told me that Comcast was blocking all Phillies games, home or away, on Direct TV unless they were the game of the week for the season.

This is typical Comcast operating procedure with no care or concern for the fans in Sussex County. It is in the power of Comcast. You watch it on their channels, or you do not have the pleasure of watching Phillies.

If you believe it is time for Sussex County to get full coverage of the Phillies, please speak up now. If you believe Sussex County should receive the same coverage provided in Kent and New Castle County, speak up now. The answer is to supply Sussex County with a channel that does so.

In the 1990s, when Comcast became the dominant cable company for the area, Comcast said they were not going to show the Phillies. When we questioned Comcast why, they informed us they had conducted a survey which showed there were not enough Phillies fans. They told us their survey was done by counting the number of newspapers sold on Sunday in Rehoboth Beach. They compared the Washington Post to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

That encouraged us to start a petition. One of the local barber shops offered to display the petition after we made it known we would have a petition in our office. In less than two weeks, we had over 600 signatures on our petition. We then made an appointment with the Public Service Commission in Dover, where we invited Comcast to be present.

After the discussion and presenting our petition, Comcast relented and agreed to broadcast Phillies games to the area. It appears that Sussex County has become an orphan when Comcast is televising the Phillies games.

Perhaps it is time, once again, to reinforce the popularity of the Philadelphia Phillies in Sussex County. We will have a petition in our Nationwide office at Fourth and Savannah Road in Lewes and ask you to express your interest by stopping by and signing the petition, or you can mail a note to me at P. O. Box 248, Lewes, Delaware 19958. We will once again try to persuade them to recognize the interest for the Phillies games to be shown in Sussex County.

David H. Truitt

  • A letter to the editor expresses a reader's opinion and, as such, is not reflective of the editorial opinions of this newspaper.

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