Comcast SportsNet Northwest
|Comcast SportsNet Northwest|
|Launched||November 1, 2007|
|Owned by||NBC Sports Group|
|Available on certain other cable systems in Oregon and Washington||Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability|
Comcast SportsNet Northwest (sometimes abbreviated as CSN Northwest) is an American regional sports network that is owned by the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal, and operates as an affiliate of Comcast SportsNet. The network broadcasts regional coverage of professional sports events throughout the Pacific Northwest, focusing primarily on the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers and college sports events involving the Oregon Ducks; the network also covers other sports events involving teams within the northwestern United States, including those featuring college and high school teams.
Comcast SportsNet Northwest is available on cable providers throughout Oregon and portions of Washington. The network maintains business offices, master control operations and studio facilities located in Portland, Oregon; Comcast SportsNet Northwest maintains a secondary studio in the Moda Center that is used for Trail Blazers game coverage.
After the Trail Blazers dismantled their pay-per-view network BlazerVision in 2001, the team reached a broadcast deal with FSN Northwest, where the team's game telecasts aired until the 2006–07 season. Fox Sports Networks did not renew its contract with the Blazers at the conclusion of the 2006–07 season; as a result, Comcast formed a new regional sports network, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, to assume the broadcast rights to the team. The network launched on November 1, 2007, coinciding with the start of the 2007–08 Trail Blazers regular season.
With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast SportsNet was also integrated into the new NBC Sports Group unit, culminating with the addition of the peacock logo and an updated graphics package to mirror that of its parent network. The updated graphics were implemented on CSN's live game coverage and all studio shows; SportsNet Central was an exception to this initially, but would ultimately implement a new on-air look of its own and on April 14, 2014, in conjunction with that change, the program switched to the updated graphics package introduced three years earlier.
Portland Trail Blazers
Comcast SportsNet Northwest holds the exclusive regional cable television rights to the Portland Trail Blazers, carrying the majority of the NBA franchise's regular season, pre-season and early-round playoff games; the network also produces expanded pre-game and post-game analysis (under the Rip City Live and Talking Ball banners), and carries select NBA Summer League games and season team previews. During the network's inaugural season in 2007–08, Comcast SportsNet Northwest carried at least 55 Trail Blazers regular season games. Combined with the Trail Blazers' over-the-air coverage, 81 of the team's regular season games that year were shown on television, the largest number of telecasts in the team's history. The new network aired 28 of the team's 36 home game telecasts in high definition. All Trail Blazers telecasts are produced in-house by the team.
University of Oregon Ducks
The Oregon Sports Network (OSN) – a sports syndication service operated by the University of Oregon to broadcast Oregon Ducks events – was seeking to expand its coverage and availability, and negotiated a contract with Comcast SportsNet Northwest around the time of its launch to air many of the university's football and basketball games that were not scheduled to broadcast on a national network or on FSN. In 2008, Comcast SportsNet Northwest became the primary broadcaster of OSN-produced telecasts, with the games being simulcast on Fox affiliate KLSR-TV (channel 34) in Eugene. Comcast SportsNet Northwest did not carry any Ducks football games during the 2012 season. In 2015, it ran the weekly Talking Ducks program.
Other sports events
Comcast SportsNet Northwest also provides coverage of a variety of other regional sports events. The network broadcasts NHL games involving the Vancouver Canucks, carrying 25 games per season that are simulcast from Sportsnet Pacific. Through its relationships with other Comcast-owned channels, CSN Northwest also broadcasts 35 regular-season games from various other NHL teams. In 2011, Comcast SportsNet Northwest announced that it would provide a reduced schedule of NHL coverage focusing solely on the Vancouver Canucks and San Jose Sharks; the network announced later that year that it would no longer carry any Sharks telecasts. Additionally, the network also carries select home games from the Portland Winterhawks Western Hockey League franchise.
In April 2009, Comcast SportsNet Northwest began carrying select regular season games from the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League. The telecasts audio simulcasts of play-by-play commentary called by Rainiers radio announcer Mike Curto. On March 12, 2014, the network announced that it would carry all but one home game from the Portland Thunder during the Arena Football League team's inaugural season.
The network produces SportsNet Central, a daily morning news program providing game highlights and sports headlines. The network will provide fans with multimedia sports content online and through video on demand. Along with the network's Trail Blazers game coverage, the network also airs a number of other NBA-related specials focused on the NBA Draft, NBA All-Star Game and the NBA Playoffs.
Comcast SportsNet Northwest also airs video simulcasts of three weekday sports radio programs: it carries the Chuck Powell Show KJR (950 AM) talk program from Seattle live each weekday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and The FAN from KFXX (1080 AM) in Portland from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m.
As of September 2013, Comcast SportsNet Northwest is currently available on Comcast (in Oregon and Washington), Ashland TV, Beaver Creek Telcom, BendBroadband, Canby Telcom, Charter Communications (in Oregon and Washington), Country Cablevision, Frontier Communications (in Oregon and Washington), MINET (in Monmouth, Oregon), Monroe Telephone, Reliance Connects, Scio Cablevision, Verizon FiOS (in the Portland and Seattle markets) and Wave Broadband.
As of August 2013, the network is not currently available on satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network, which both maintain that Comcast has negotiated in bad faith during carriage discussions engaged between the parties. Particularly, Comcast demands the network be carried on more widely subscribed basic programming tiers, while contradictorily arguing that sports networks not owned by the company be carried only on a dedicated sports tier. The Trail Blazers are said to be frustrated and disappointed with Comcast's conduct over their contract with CSN Northwest in this regard.
The Consumer Protection Committee of the Oregon House of Representatives held a hearing on February 24, 2010 to attempt to arbitrate a carriage deal between the network, DirecTV, Dish Network and Charter Communications. No representatives for DirecTV, Dish Network or the Trail Blazers attended the hearing. On June 21, the Trail Blazers asked the Federal Communications Commission to require Comcast to make the team's games available to competing multichannel video programming distributors such as DirecTV and Dish Network.
Oregon-based cable provider Canby Telcom objected to a non-negotiable subscribe fee increase that would have increased the network's annual subscriber rate to over $32 in 2012; as a result, Canby announced plans to stop carrying Comcast SportsNet Northwest. Keith Galitz, president of Canby Telcom, stated "That's just too steep an increase for us, and it's not in line with inflation or normal escalation of prices in the industry." Canby Telcom has accused Comcast of raising rates way beyond the rate of inflation and industry-wide increases. Clear Creek Television, which carried the Trail Blazers for 15 years, was rebuffed in its attempts to negotiate the above-market rate Comcast was pushing for.
Comcast sent some of its senior staff members to Oregon after a member of the Sports Fan Coalition testified before the Oregon State Legislature on the provider's denial of access to the network on DirecTV, Dish and other cable providers. Brian Frederick, executive director of the advocacy group, stated that "Comcast clearly sees the public perception of its treatment of sports fans as a potential Achilles heel in efforts to acquire NBCU". In a November 7, 2010 article in The Oregonian, Blazers chief executive officer Larry Miller continued to express frustration about the lack of availability for the team's CSN-televised games.
Comcast SportsNet Northwest HD
Comcast SportsNet Northwest HD is a 1080i high definition simulcast feed of Comcast SportsNet Northwest. CSN Northwest broadcast 28 Portland Trail Blazers home games in HD in the 2007–08 season; that number of high-definition game telecasts shown on the network increased to 32 for the 2008–09 season. Blazers broadcaster Mike Barrett announced during the network's game telecast against the Los Angeles Clippers on April 13, 2009 that CSN Northwest would broadcast all Trail Blazers games in HD from then onward.
CSN Northwest HD available on Comcast throughout Oregon and southwestern Washington; Comcast did not carry the high-definition feed in most of the remainder of Washington State (specifically its systems in the Seattle-Tacoma and Spokane markets) until early 2013, when it began to be carried on Channel 617. CSN Northwest HD is only available on Comcast's digital preferred package in western Washington.
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- "Comcast update: Trail Blazers ask FCC to force cable company to make game broadcasts available". The Oregonian. Advance Publications. July 12, 2010.
- "Canzano: Frustration with Comcast grows as Trail Blazers games remain hard to get in some areas". The Oregonian. Advance Publications. August 7, 2010.
- "Blazer TV access: Stop hogging the ball, Comcast". The Oregonian. Advance Publications. October 15, 2010.
- "Trail Blazers: As team continues to seek TV solution, events around country could affect Comcast standoff". The Oregonian. Advance Publications. November 7, 2010.