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Comcast Planning To Give Refunds For Lack Of Live Sports

“Comcast’s refund will only reflect credits received from regional sports networks based on cancelled MLB games.”

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After more than four months of no live events from the four major professional sports leagues, cable customers may be in line for some givebacks. According to reports, Comcast Corp. is planning to refund its subscribers sports programming fees for cancelled games. 

When sports were shut down in March, cable subscribers quickly began asking about refunds for cancelled games. TV providers such as Comcast pointed to the leagues, stating if they receive rebates from the NBA or Major League Baseball, a portion would be passed on to their customers. 

In last week’s quarterly earnings call, Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh stated he believes a refund is on the way. “We expect that we’ll be getting some money back from some of the sports leagues based on games played or not played in the US and when that does happen we, as we said, we’ll pass that back along to customers,” Cavanagh said, as noted by Cord Cutters News

Cable subscribers pay as much as $20 per month in sports rights fees, which includes national networks such as ESPN and FOX Sports 1. Comcast’s refund will only reflect credits received from regional sports networks based on cancelled MLB games. 

In April, New York’s Attorney General Letitia James put pressure on TV providers to give rebates to customers for cancelled sporting events. Comcast is the first major cable company to follow suit. Networks pay sports rights fees, cable companies are paying networks and subscribers are paying cable companies. According to James, cable customers shouldn’t be charged for sports they’re not receiving.

“At a time when so many New Yorkers have lost their jobs and are struggling, it is grossly unfair that cable and satellite television providers would continue to charge fees for services they are not even providing,” Attorney General James said three months ago. “These companies must step up and immediately propose plans to cut charges and provide much needed financial relief. This crisis has brought new economic anxiety for all New Yorkers, and I will continue to protect the wallets of working people at every turn.” 

Comcast now has a FAQ page on their website, explaining that they’re working with RSN’s to get credits that can be passed along to their customers. 

Can I get credited for the Regional Sports Network Fee on my bill since live sports haven’t been available?
We’ve been working with the regional sports networks to secure refunds for the sports network costs wherever possible.  If a regional sports network in your market refunds us and you paid the fee during the relevant time period, then we’ll pass 100% of what we receive onto you as a courtesy adjustment on your bill.

We will be notifying customers if they’re eligible for a refund for games missed between April and June. We’ll also continue to advocate for more refunds throughout the rest of the year.

Who is eligible for a credit adjustment on their bill?
You may be eligible if you are in a market where the regional sports network costs are refunded to Xfinity.

When would I see a courtesy adjustment on my bill?
The timing of any courtesy adjustment is dependent on when we get refunds from the regional sports networks. We’ll make sure to keep you updated and notify you if your bill is adjusted.

The question remains if Comcast will be alone in issuing givebacks, or if the company will set precedent for other cable providers to do the same.

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Kentucky Derby Rebounds With 16 Million Viewers

“The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.”

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The Kentucky Derby has now eclipsed 15 million viewers in each of the last eight years that the event was not effected by the Covid-19 Pandemic. An average audience of 16 million tuned in Saturday to see longshot Rich Strike win the first leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown.

The Derby saw its best numbers since 2019 on Saturday. The audience peaked at 19 million.

During the weekend, the event kept finding new life on social media. According to an NBC Sports press release, the overhead shot of the final call drew big audiences across a number of the network’s digital platforms, having been viewed in total more than 36 million times.

Peacock also cashed in on the event’s success. The streaming platform posted an average minute audience of over 247,000 viewers during the Kentucky Derby.

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ESPN Releases Details For Joe Buck’s PGA Championship Broadcast

“Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host.”

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Omaha Productions and ESPN are getting ready for the PGA Championship. News broke last week that Joe Buck would make his ESPN debut at the center of alternative coverage of the event. Now the network is sharing a few details of the broadcast.

Michael Collins will serve as Buck’s co-host. ESPN’s senior golf analyst will bring the perspective of a former caddie to the broadcast as well as the humor of a former comedian.

The duo will welcome plenty of guests too. The lineup suggests that while the broadcast will be built around golf, the conversations could go anywhere. Troy Aikman, Josh Allen, Charles Barkley, Doris Burke, Fred Couples, Jon Hamm, and Peyton & Eli Manning are all scheduled to make appearances.

“We loved doing Monday Night Football with ESPN and the entire Omaha team has been looking forward to producing alternate telecasts that celebrate other sports,” Peyton Manning said in a press release. “As one of golf’s majors, the PGA Championship is a perfect place to do our first one for golf and we look forward to working with Joe, Michael and everyone in ESPN’s golf team.”

Joe Buck and Michael Collins will be on TV for all four days of the PGA Championship. They will be on for four hours each day. The broadcast will alternate between ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+ depending on where the traditional coverage of the event is airing.

The PGA Championship with Joe Buck & Michael Collins is the latest offering from ESPN’s deal with Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions. The company has also committed to produce alternate coverage of MMA and college football broadcasts in the future.

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Tom Brady To Join FOX At End Of Career

“Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.”

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Tom Brady won’t be in the booth this season for FOX, but he will be there eventually. The network’s PR account tweeted that as soon as Brady is ready to call it a career, he will join Kevin Burkhardt to call the biggest game on the network’s slate each week.

“We are delighted that Tom has committed to joining the Fox team and wish him all the best during this upcoming season,” FOX CEO Lachlan Murdoch said in a statement.

FOX has made no secret of its desire to bring Brady aboard. The network has been courting him ever since he announced his retirement in February. The desire to pair him with Burkhardt was first reported in March by Andrew Marchand of The New York Post.

This news raises questions about the future for a lot of the parties involved. First, who will be Burkhardt’s partner this season? Tom Brady has committed to play for the Buccaneers. Next, what does this mean for the quarterback’s future? Does this guarantee that 2022 will be his final season in the NFL? Finally, what now for Greg Olsen? He had been Burkhardt’s partner last season and has expressed interest in continuing to work together.

All of those answers will be addressed in time. Right now, FOX is busy celebrating.

Whether or not Tom Brady is great on TV remains to be seen. What is certain is that the network just added star power that is unmatched amongst other networks that carry NFL games.

That is going to cost them too. Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports reports that Brady’s FOX paycheck will eclipse $20 million annually.

FOX’s deal with Tom Brady is similar to the one NBC made with Drew Brees before his final season in New Orleans. It allowed the quarterback one more season and promised him a nice landing spot in the media when his playing days are done. We will have to wait and see whether or not FOX will end up waiting longer than the one season NBC did.

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