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TV deal means viewers will pay

Published April 01. 2014 05:00PM

For Phillies fans, Monday's season opener was the first of many games they will be viewing on Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia this season.

While Comcast has been the home of a majority of games in the past, the number will grow even more in 2014.

Unfortunately, because of this, area cable subscribers may see their cable bills rise in the future.

Comcast and the Phillies recently agreed to a new televsion contract (reportedly a 25-year, $2.5 billion deal) and part of the agreement has the station airing 33 more games this year.

Those games, which had been shown on WPHL-17 (with many of them picked up locally by WQMY and WSWB in Northeast PA), will cost local cable operators more money and that cost will ultimately be passed down to its customers.

"They gave the caple operators the option to pay the fee to carry the games and we decided to pay the fee," said Joe Lorah, Blue Ridge Communication's corporate director of marketing and customer service. "This will allow people to see the 33 games that would have been dropped."

Had Blue Ridge not decided to pick up the cost, the 33 games would have been blacked out.

"They (Comcast) pass the cost onto us and we absorb that as much we can," said Lorah. "Ultimately some of that cost is passed onto the costumers. We try to keep the rates as low as possible for everybody. Our sports fans seem to be very enthusiastic and want to see the games. We are aware that not everyone is a Phillies fan, which is why we try to keep the overall price affordable for everybody."

Part of that price includes carrying Yankees and Mets games, which air on the YES and SNY networks.

"The rates are similar to other sports networks," said Lorah. "We've found that regional sports networks are typically the most expensive."

In all, Comcast Sportsnet is scheduled to air 140 of the Phillies' 162 games. Twelve games will be on NBC-10, nine on The Comcast Network (which is not available to BRC subscribers) and one on FOX.

All nine on The Comcast Network are scheduled in April and come within the Phillies' first 15 games of the season. The primary reason for this is that Comcast SportsNet also airs Flyers and 76ers regular season games. The nine games on The Comcast Network may actually increase if the Flyers reach the Stanley Cup playoffs and those games are aired on Comcast SportsNet.

"There is an additional fee for The Comcast Network, but then we'd have to carry it year round and that's not cost-efficient," said Lorah.

As in the past, Comcast SportsNet is not available on DirecTV or DISH Network.

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