A southern New Jersey-based Adelphia Communications Corp.
system nestled between New York and Philadelphia is under attack from a contingent of its
subscribers for not carrying the Philadelphia-based Comcast SportsNet regional-sports
The 110,000-subscriber system has been the target of
protests from Philadelphia sports fans over the past several months due to the absence of
Comcast SportsNet, which offers Philadelphia 76ers National Basketball Association, Flyers
National Hockey League and Phillies Major League Baseball games.
Also, several of the system's townships have passed
resolutions urging Adelphia to add Comcast SportsNet to its basic lineup, without extra
cost to consumers -- something that the system cannot guarantee.
"We don't take lightly such acts from our
franchise holders, but they're asking for this to be accommodated without any impact
on prices," said Jerry Clark, public-relations manager for the system. "With the
addition of Comcast SportsNet, there are no guarantees."
Jack Williams, Comcast SportsNet's president and CEO,
said the network has held ongoing talks with Adelphia since it launched in October. He
wouldn't confirm whether price was the major issue, but he did say that the network
would charge Adelphia the same price that it charges other out-of-market systems.
While Williams declined to be specific, other knowledgeable
sources placed the rate at between 75 cents and $1 per subscriber.
The Adelphia system finds itself in an unusual predicament
because it falls within the New York inner market, and it pays a premium price for both
New York-based sports channels -- Madison Square Garden Network and Fox Sports New York.
But its southernmost communities fall within the Philadelphia DMA, so it serves viewers
who are more closely tied to Philadelphia teams.
Adelphia already carries several of the city's local
stations, including the one that airs Phillies games.
"It's not like we have an embargo on Philadelphia
sports, and we certainly endeavor to carry the Philadelphia broadcast stations,"
Adelphia did carry pay service Prism, which offered games
from several of the Philadelphia teams, but it did not carry SportsChannel Philadelphia.
Both services were shut down with the launch of Comcast SportsNet.
Clark said the system would like to provide all of its
customers with the programming that they want, and it is working toward a resolution to
"We're involved in good-faith negotiations, and
we'll work toward resolving the situation," Clark added.
"We're hopeful that a deal with Adelphia can be
done prior to the start of the hockey and basketball seasons," Williams added.