Here's a thought for you. The proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger could help and not hinder sports networks from gaining carriage. That's the thinking from industry insiders who tell Sports Business Journal's John Ourand that Comcast will not want to run afoul with the Feds who will look over this deal with a fine-toothed comb.
Ourand/writes that Comcast will not look to get into public fights with sports networks for fear of drawing attention from Federal investigators. He cites recent negotiations with Disney and Fox that allowed ESPN and Fox Sports 1 to be carried on Comcast systems without rancor and public bickering that normally accompany these discussions.
Before the deal with Comcast was announced, Time Warner made deals with YES Network and Fox Sports San Diego. Was it a coincidence? One has to think not.
In the past, Comcast had played hardball with Big Ten Network, MLB Network and NFL Network,keeping all of the sports networks off of their systems before reaching deals. Time Warner has been notorious for its refusal to carry networks, MASN and NFL Network are prime examples, plus it's still looking its wounds from a battle with CBS last August.
Ourand says he doesn't feel neither company would want to risk scrutiny and the wrath from the FCC so both Comcast and Time Warner Cable might quietly agree to carry ESPN's SEC Network and let DirecTV and other cable providers battle the Worldwide Leader.
The idea of a combined Comcast-Time Warner Cable might be bad for the regular consumer, but for the owners of sports networks, this might be the best time to strike a deal.no comments