Sources: CSN Scaling Back Road Game Coverage

Voila_Capture974Multiple sources tell me that Comcast SportsNet outlets everywhere – not just Philly – are cutting back on travel costs for beat writers, at least through 2014, due to budget concerns. Locally, I’m told this will impact road coverage of Phillies, Flyers and Sixers games. CSN may rely on local freelancers or AP reports in place of embedded team reporters or Insiders, who now, ironically, won’t be as inside as they were before.

Specifically as it relates to the Flyers, this will only affect coverage of a handful of games for the remainder of the season. For instance, I’m told Tim Panaccio won’t travel to Buffalo this week to cover the Flyers-Sabres game – even though he had been previously scheduled to do so – and that his corporate credit card has been canceled or taken away (it’s not known if this is a Tim-specific issue or part of CSN’s larger cost-cutting efforts). He’ll now have to file expense reports, and, as anyone within earshot in the press box can attest to, he’s apparently not happy about it.

This seems to be part of a larger NBC-ization of Comcast and Comcast SportsNet properties. Comcast and NBC have made several recent decisions that have directly impacted local sports, for better or worse.

The mega conglomerate believed the Great Sports Debate didn’t fit its brand, despite relatively decent local ratings.* So it was canceled.

*I’m biased because I was on the show. And I know many of you had your gripes about it. But the fact remains, they were happy with ratings.

Chris Wheeler was kicked out of the broadcast booth as a direct result of the Phillies’ new deal with CSN– and the new color guy will be a CSN employee, not a Phillies employee like the rest of the broadcasters.

CSN Philly has gobbled up NBC 10’s sports coverage.

I’m hearing Peter Luukko’s abrupt resignation had something to do with Comcast being uncomfortable with Comcast Spectacor’s finances.

And now the cost-cutting on road game coverage, which surely makes some financial sense, but also dilutes coverage for an outlet that champions its Insiders.

Overall, there is a very obvious NBC Network and Sports Talk theme that has pervaded CSN Philly and its website. I get what NBC is doing and why they’re doing it – they want consistency and to cut costs – but CSN Philly basically created the local model. Generally speaking, their TV and web coverage was pretty good. Now much of it feels like watered down, generic NBC stuff.

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38 Responses

  1. I guess Tim’s post game trips to Mayfair are over. There is only one thing that goes with Swiss Cheese and thats red wine

  2. Breaking!!!

    Comcast is a business!

    Uh, Kyle – if the new GSD was profitable it would still be on. Frankly, the show sucked. Deal with it.

    1. Maybe if they didn’t wait TWENTY years to bring it back, and didn’t have those 2 bubble-headed bimbos on it, more people would have watched it.

    2. I really couldn’t care less from a personal standpoint. I’m just pointing out that it actually didn’t have much to do with money (it may more than the infomercial they’ll show in its place) but it was specifically because it wasn’t their brand.

        1. It was more college communication department than public access.

          But they still managed to entertain the crowd with 2nd rate cover bands playing old Stones tunes as they went to break. Who cares if it looked like something you might find on TV in Minnesota late at night.

          But Kyle is right, it wasn’t their brand. Because apparently, their brand isn’t crap.

  3. If Comcast bought NBC, why then aren’t we seeing the Comcast-ization of NBC, instead of the NBC-ization of Comcast?

    The same thing happened where I once worked – the company that was taken over ended up making the rules. WTF?

  4. After working there and in television for many years, it was always a cheap company, but it’s gotten a lot worse. The morale is at an all-time low because of enormous work load, really low pay and absolutely no room for growth. It’s a privilege to be employed with CSN. Believe me, you’re reminded of it everyday you walk into that newsroom. “IF YOU MISSED ANYTHING IN THE WORLD OF SPORTS”…check your fuckin smart phone.

  5. If the new Phillies color commentator is a CSN employee, then will he not travel to road games either? It’s probably just easier to have him call games from his living room.

  6. You mean we might actually have a readable Flyers story on the CSN website tomorrow after the Flyers game? If so, cut away Comcast…. Cut. Cut. Cut!

  7. It’s all about efficiency and Ad dollars. Plus Comcast stock should hit $ 60 soon..that’s all they care about. People in Philly will still fork over bucks to go to the games and watch them on TV. Believe it or not they are incredibly smart and do market studies. They know the village tards down in the NE treat going to an eagles, phillies, or flyers game like a white trash honeymoon.

  8. Im glad they are dealing with cutbacks…a lot of these local media types have great jobs but are total pricks and grumpy know it alls…fuck that dude’s corporate card. The next dude i hope loses privileges is les bowen…i swear he likes it when the eagles lose…it blows my mind

  9. not surprised this happen after the phillies tv contract. I feel bad for people like Jim salisbury who work hard and do great reporting.cuts are probably a combination of bad ratings on nbc network, cord cutting and people stop using comcast and went to fios or directv. but im beginning to think tearing down the spectrum was a bad idea and they arent really telling us how successful xfinity live is working out.sometimes u can leave a phillies or flyers game and some nights their isnt a big crowd.

    btw, the original GSD is still 10x better than they had on for the past three years. nobody will top jayson stark’s hall of fame voting and huge argument would start.

  10. The phillies are as lazy as bill conlin trying to clean a room. They could of easily started their own network in the fourth biggest market that covers 4 states and made twice as much as comcast tossed them but montgomery and giles are as fucking dumb as two clowns at a midnight basketball league tourney, this is why they only win a world series Twice in 50 years cry small market and give the likes of ryan howard 30 mil a year. I hate this team!

    1. Yes, Giles and I are dumb, but we know we have 37,000 plus lemmings coming to every game regardless of the geezers on the field. Hell, we even got Utley out to the local radio outlets for some PR. As long as we have three guys playing in that green albatross costume parading around the field, the fans are happy.

  11. Maybe they should just have Amy Fadool pose naked during the hockey intermissions. It looks like she has a kicking body.

    1. Next year, we are going to scrap the whole Wing Bowl schtick – it’s so played. Instead, we will have “The Chicks of Philly Sports” jell-o wrestling tourney. Leslie Gudel, Dei Lynam, Amy Fadool, Rhea Hughes, and that hockey chick that looks like Chris Pronger (I forget her name – is she even still here?), along with weather-babe Sheena Parveen (to make it an even number).

      They will start each match in a sling bikini, and take it from there. Maybe we will make it like Ultimate Surrender – East Coast style.

      Owwww! 😀

  12. im surprised it took them this long to cut back. With the internet and shit you dont need to send a fleet of reporters with to every away trip. it only makes sense. A sign of the times if you will. Obama says the economy is booming though!!

  13. If Comcast wanted to save money they should have fired Tom McCarthy and brought in some new guy from the Columbia School of Broadcasting. I don’t know how they can keep issuing a paycheck to that buffoon.

  14. If Comcast hires spike eskin or rhea Hughes you know they have hit rock bottom. Spike looks like a cross between Rocky Dennis from Mask and Corky Thatcher and knows nothing about sports and Rhea Is a female version of Baba Booey with no breasts.

    1. “Rhea Is a female version of Baba Booey with no breasts.”

      It’s the horse-toothed jackass vs. the horse-faced beotch.

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