Small Md. Cable Operator Drops Comcast SportsNet

Easton Cable: Regional Sports Network Lost Value After Losing 90 Orioles Games
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Easton Cable in Easton, Md., dropped Comcast SportsNet from its lineup, saying that Comcast wanted it to pay more for the channel while it wanted to pay less.

William Russell, manager of Easton Cable, said that after the sports network had to hand over 90 Baltimore Orioles Major League Baseball games to Mid-Atlantic Sports Network last year, which is part-owned by Orioles owner Peter Angelos, the channel lost its principal value to his viewers.

"It’s not fair to our customers that they should have to pay even more," he said. Easton also pointed out that the price increase came on top of the fee it had to pay to add MASN to its lineup to make sure viewers still got the Orioles games.

Easton said Comcast was asking more than any other channel on its system except ESPN. A Comcast spokesman was not available for comment.

Comcast and MASN were in a protracted battle over rights to the Orioles games before a nudge from the Federal Communications Commission and congress led to a resolution in summer 2006

"After carrying Comcast SportsNet and our predecessor HTS since 1984, Easton Utilities made the decision to remove our channel and our coverage of the University of Maryland, the Redskins, the Capitals, the Wizards and D.C. United from their lineup," Comcast responded in a statement. "Unfortunately Easton was unwilling to agree to the same terms that other providers have found acceptable. However their viewers have a choice for their television provider and are able to receive Comcast SportsNet on DirecTV and DISH Network to continue to see their favorite teams." Comcast also said they could contact Easton and ask that the network be restored.

Comcast also pointed out that while Easton had dropped the channel, other systems had recently added it, including in Sacramento.


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