Posts for NBCSP

NBC Sports Philadelphia is Bringing Back the Betting-Focused Sixers Broadcast

Kevin Kinkead - November 20, 2019

You may recall last season that NBC Sports Philadelphia did a trial run with a gambling-themed Sixers broadcast, hosted by Anthony Gargano, Marc Farzetta, and Brad Feinberg. The experiment started at the end of the regular season in April and was also used a bit during the playoffs.

That broadcast is coming back this season on a 10-game basis, according to Jeff Blumenthal at the Philadelphia Business Journal:

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Philly Sports Talk Won’t Air This Week

Kevin Kinkead - January 23, 2019

More changes at NBC Sports Philadelphia.

In addition to canning something like half of their talent over the last two years, the Comcast-owned local broadcaster is currently going through studio renovations, which will take Amy Fadool and Marc Farzetta off of their 5 p.m. Philly Sports Talk show for the rest of the week.

That’s per her:

Rob Tornoe over at Philly.com has more on the changes, after the jump:

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Comcast is Raising its “Regional Sports Network Fee” (Again)

Kevin Kinkead - December 3, 2018

Saw this on Twitter a short time ago.

Apparently Comcast is going to make you pay more for a variety of things, sports included, beginning in 2019. I’m a FIOS customer with an equally expensive and bloated monthly bill, but I know a large majority of people in this region get their TV and internet via Comcast.

From an Ars Technica article:

Comcast is raising its controversial “Broadcast TV” and “Regional Sports Network” fees again on January 1, with the typical total price going from $14.50 to $18.25 a month.

The newly raised broadcast TV fee will be $10 a month, and the sports fee will be $8.25 a month, Cord Cutters News reported last week. The new fee sizes are confirmed in a Comcast price list for the Atlanta market.

The new price hikes will take effect in most of Comcast’s regional markets across the US on January 1, but some cities will get the increase later in 2019, a Comcast spokesperson told Ars. The fee sizes can vary by city based on which stations are available, so in some cases they could be less than $10 and $8.25, Comcast said.

Equipment fees are also increasing.

I don’t see anything in any article mentioning specific rate increases for Philadelphia, though the complication here has always been Comcast owning NBC Sports Philadelphia, which creates a funky conflict for non-Comcast people. I remember I couldn’t get the station formerly known as TCN in high definition as recently as four or five years ago. I had to watch Union games and some bumped Flyers and Sixers games in standard def on channel 80. Of course Comcast wants you to watch NBCSP through their cable service and has no real incentive to negotiate carriage fees in good faith with a competitor, right? It’s Comcast’s city, and we’re all living in it.

Something to keep an eye on here. I feel like I’m very close to joining the rest of y’all in cutting the cord.

NBC Sports Adds Flyers Content to their Non-Game Streaming Service

Kevin Kinkead - November 21, 2018

NBC Sports rolled out a digital streaming service a few months ago for displaced fans.

The “Philly Pass” on NBC Sports Gold features studio shows, pre and post-game programs, and other specials that the network produces. It does not, however, include any actual Phillies, Sixers, or Flyers games, which left a lot of people wondering why they would pay $3.99 a month or $29.99 a year for this product.

Today we got a press release announcing that Flyers programming will be added to the service, but again, no games:

PHILADELPHIA – November 21, 2018 – NBC Sports Gold’s “Philly Pass” will add Philadelphia Flyers pregame, postgame, and special programming content to its offerings starting on Thursday, November 29. The addition of the Flyers to “Philly Pass” will add to the more than 200 pre- and postgame shows, more than 30 hours of studio shows and team-oriented content for all four Philadelphia pro-teams: Philadelphia Eagles, Sixers, Phillies and the Flyers.

This new direct-to-consumer product targets Philadelphia sports fans residing outside the NBC Sports Philadelphia territory. “Philly Pass” is available for purchase for $29.99 for the year, or $3.99 per month. Fans can visit www.nbcsports.com/gold/phillypass to purchase the product and confirm if the pass is available in their area.

Flyers content for “Philly Pass” will include NBC Sports Philadelphia’s “Flyers Pregame Live” and “Flyers Postgame Live,” plus specials such as “The Case for 88,” “Flyers in 50,” and the 42nd Annual Flyers Wives Carnival. The pass currently includes the network’s Eagles, Phillies and Sixers pre- and postgame programs; the network’s weekday sports program “Philly Sports Talk;” the Eagles-centric “Quick Slants;” and other specials including the 2018 Eagles Championship Parade, and “World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies” documentary.

“Like a breakout pass from Gostisbehere to Giroux, and the viral sensation Gritty, we are thrilled to add Philadelphia Flyers programming to an already robust lineup of Eagles, Sixers and Phillies programs on ‘Philly Pass,’” said Brian Monihan, President, NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“Philly Pass” is NBC Sports Regional Network’s second foray into direct to consumer offerings, as “Blazers Pass” launched in November 2017. “Philly Pass,” which launched in September, is part of NBC Sports Gold’s suite of direct-to-consumer live streaming products to desktop, mobile, tablets and connected TV devices.

NBC Sports Gold is available on Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV V4, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.com. NBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.”

This just seems like a tough sell for out-of-market fans because I’d assume they already have subscriptions to streaming services like NBA League Pass or NFL Sunday Ticket. Unless you’re the most authentic fan on the planet, I can’t imagine something like this is a huge needle-mover, but maybe I’m wrong.

NBC Sports Rolls Out New “MyTeams” App

Kevin Kinkead - October 16, 2018

I’m not a cord-cutter, but I hope to be in the near future.

We’re still hooked up to FIOS up here in Fishtown, so if I’m not watching the Sixers or Flyers or Phillies on TV, the routine has been to log in to NBC Sports Philadelphia via our cable provider and stream the games on my laptop. Then my wife watches Below Deck or The Real Housewives or whatever is on Bravo.

It’s been possible to stream games on the NBC Sports app since 2014, and a new service also allows you to stream local non-game footage from out of market locations.

Now NBC Sports is running out another app for Philly fans.

Writes Rob Tornoe at Philly.com:

Dubbed the MYTeams app, NBC Sports’ new mobile and tablet app wraps up coverage from NBC’s 11 regional sports networks, including NBC Sports Philadelphia, into an interface that focuses on team verticals. There’s not even a home screen — just a slider at the bottom that lets fans scan for live video, highlights, and stories across all the teams they decide to follow.

“There’s a difference between how we cover sports in Philadelphia, especially as it relates to the voice and tone of our coverage versus NBC Sports,” David Preschlack, president of NBC Sports Regional Networks, said. “I mean, we’re communicating to Philly fans in a really different way that Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison are on Sunday night, so there’s a different value to viewers.”

Fans will still need a cable subscription to view live game coverage, and the app is only available on smartphones and tablets, meaning viewers will still use the NBC Sports app to stream games on their television. Still, Preschlack said, the app is the largest non-game investment in the regional sports network’s history. The network hopes the app will counter a narrative in Philadelphia that NBC Sports is cutting back.

My first thought is that I’d rather have fewer apps than more apps. I remember when Facebook rolled out their messenger app, which was totally separate from the main app and took up a lot of space on your device. That was sort of a head-scratcher. In that regard, I’d prefer NBC just roll these two apps together.

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NBC Sports Philadelphia Launches New Streaming Service for Displaced Fans

Kevin Kinkead - September 27, 2018

Press release:

Stamford, Conn. – September 27, 2018 – NBC Sports Regional Networks today announced the launch of its direct-to-consumer product targeted to displaced Philadelphia sports fans, NBC Sports Gold’s “Philly Pass.” This new streaming product allows fans residing outside the NBC Sports Philadelphia territory to access NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Eagles, Phillies and Sixers pre- and postgame programs; the network’s weekday sports program “Philly Sports Talk;” the Eagles-centric “Quick Slants;” plus additional team-focused programs, including the 2018 Eagles Championship Parade and “World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies” documentary.

“Philly Pass” is available for purchase beginning today for $29.99 for the year, or $3.99 per month. Fans can visit www.nbcsports.com/gold/phillypass to purchase the product and confirm if the pass is available in their area.

“Philadelphia sports fans are some of the most passionate in the country. We are pleased to offer displaced Philly fans the ability to watch our popular sports programs, and give them the insight and coverage of their home teams from the voices of NBC Sports Philadelphia,” said David Preschlack, President, NBC Sports Regional Networks & Platform and Content Strategy.

This is NBC Sports Regional Network’s second foray into direct to consumer offerings, as “Blazers Pass” launched in November 2017. “Philly Pass” is part of NBC Sports Gold’s suite of direct-to-consumer live streaming products to desktop, mobile, tablets and connected TV devices.

NBC Sports Gold is available on Apple iOS, Android, Apple TV V4, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Chromecast and online at NBCSportsGold.comNBC Sports Gold is powered by Playmaker Media, NBC Sports Digital’s technology service which provides end-to-end support for companies in need of best-in-class live streaming and VOD solutions.

Thoughts?

No, seriously, I’m interested in your thoughts. Obviously they can’t stream the games out of market, but you can get the rest of their programming through this service.

Discord and Unrest: Current and Former Employees Describe Life at NBC Sports Philly

Kevin Kinkead - July 18, 2018

Both Kevin Kinkead and Kyle Scott worked on this post.

We got a ton of feedback on a story published last week, titled “Some Thoughts on Whatever the Hell NBC Sports Philly is Doing.”

Beyond the reader replies, we were contacted by a number of current and former NBCSP employees, all of whom felt like the station was headed in the wrong direction due to a number of unpopular talent cuts and a wonky revamp of both the television and digital product.

We talked to a half-dozen people – a combination of off- and on-camera folks representing a variety of departments – who were interested in speaking anonymously about the issues. Leadership, money, and a lack of direction were the three topics that came up most frequently in discussion.

Before we get to that, it’s worth considering the important crossroads at which NBC Sports Philly, and all sports networks, regional and national, find themselves at the moment.

Once an indispensable part of sports fandom, cable sports networks have become less relevant in recent years. Gone are the days of fans needing to tune in for highlight shows or roundtable discussions to get brought up to speed on the news and topics of the day. New and social media, along with the continued success of sports talk radio, has rendered almost anything a sports network can show you during traditional news-block hours useless, at worst, or redundant, at best.

For the Philly sports fan, SportsNite with Neil Hartman and Leslie Gudel, or SportsRise with Ron Burke used to be appointment viewing. What’s more, it was novel in the both the breadth and depth of local coverage it provided, beginning in 1997.

The height of the cable news boom, the late 90s were shaped largely by the new and varied niches cable networks could cover, from Music TV to Court TV to sports. Not only did a network like CSN air the games, but they offered nearly around-the-clock coverage of the teams. Until then, local fans were served during off-hours by only the newspaper, sports talk radio, and a few minutes of nightly news broadcasts.

Michael Barkann, Hartman, Gudel, Burke, Dei Lynam and Derrick Gunn became mini rockstars to local sports fans. CSN was essential in a sports-dominated market.

That landscape has completely changed.

The value added by highlight, roundtable, and, to a lesser extent, debate shows is gone. The web fills that vacuum admirably while providing a platform for the average fan to engage and create. You’re now literally part of the sports conversation, whereas before you were only in branding– the voice of the fan. Suddenly, the back-and-forth of static studio shows feels boring and contrived compared to lively Twitter debates, in-depth podcast discussions, and the comment sections of social media posts. We don’t need to hear what Joel Embiid said after the game, because we can watch him celebrate or lament live on Instagram. Highlight shows serve only to reinforce the importance of clips we saw online four hours earlier, or sometimes eight hours earlier. Sites like this one (and many others) provide the continuous updates without readers having to wait for a scheduled broadcast window. Even self-important branding plays, like a “CSN Insider,” which is actually just a beat reporter who, often, is no more inside than 6-8 of their peers, or “Authentic Fan,” feel outdated and disingenous.

So, we’ll argue that NBC Sports Philly, and many other regional sports networks, are right to do away with their stale fare. From a content standpoint, that stuff is no longer interesting. From a financial standpoint, it loses money.

The decisions to do so, including the choice to let go of longtime veteran on-air folks who excel at reading a teleprompter, are not popular, but they are necessary. You can’t teach someone who is used to a camera setup, a script, multiple takes, and a tightly defined framework to just pick up their phone and be creative. [A counter to this would be someone like John Clark, who has excelled on social media and uses his access to inform fans everywhere, and not surprisingly he has been elevated in the NBC Sports-Comcast family of networks.]

More relevant to this piece, though, is what NBC Sports Philly has done in the wake of unpopular decisions and cost-cutting. Some of those decisions can be excused as NBC-led initiatives over which the local shop had little control, while others can be critiqued from a local level. Both deserve attention.

So it’s with that framework and understanding of the business dynamics that we take you inside with current and former NBC Sports Philly staffers as they identify pain points within the once-hallowed halls of the Comcast SportsNet studios. Continue Reading

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NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Phillies Documentary Was Pretty Standard Fare

Bob Wankel - July 16, 2018

After weeks of promotion and hype, NBC Sports Philadelphia aired Sunday night its highly anticipated look back at the 2008 Phillies, entitled “World Champions: The Story of the ’08 Phillies.”

As the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 Phillies’ triumph approaches, now seems like the perfect time to chronicle the team that delivered the city of Philadelphia its first major professional sports championship in 25 years. With a natural narrative arc provided by a championship season backdrop that is supported by a beloved cast of eclectic characters given a decade’s time to grow, change, reflect, and gain perspective on their tremendous accomplishments, the program had what I felt were the perfect contextual ingredients for compelling storytelling.

What’s more, I found it encouraging that NBC Sports Philadelphia, a network that has undergone significant changes in personnel and programming in recent years, committed to such an ambitious project. I firmly believe this is the precise type of programming the network should both dedicate itself to and feature. Philadelphia sports fans want to immerse themselves in their teams and feel a connection to the players they come to love (or loathe). Insightful, smart, and anecdotal documentary-style television provides that opportunity, plus it’s a welcomed deviation from the mindless and manufactured quick-hit debate programming that plagues modern sports television.

And that’s why I was a bit underwhelmed by what I watched last night. It felt under-budgeted, underdeveloped, and incomplete.

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