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In a World Where the Phillies Owned Their Own TV Network….

Kyle Scott - February 14, 2012

image from


Sorry for that. I’ll turn down the volume for the rest.

This week, Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb broached the subject of the Phillies launching their own TV network in 2015, when their current contract with CSN expires. Gelb, citing a non-revealing answer and a smirk from Phillies president David Montgomery during an interview which ran this weekend, brought up the topic when the two discussed negotiations between the Phillies and Comcast: []

"We will see," David Montgomery said recently. "Right now, we're enjoying tremendous popularity. We would hope our friends at Comcast would see that as well. I'm sure they will."

The present deal with Comcast ends in 2015.

The Phillies' president smirked, a rare moment of candor for the public face of a silent ownership group that has it all going right now.


That’s hardly a revealing answer from Montgomery. So there’s one of two things going on here: 

1) Gelb knows more than he’s allowed to say, and writing a 1,000-word article about a seemingly unknown concept is his way of letting us know that. Or…

2) He needs to fill space before heading to Clearwater.

I’m inclined to go with option 1, even though known curmudgeon and Gelb’s colleague, Frank Fitzpatrick, tackled this subject in 2010 by quoting Phillies senior VP of advertising and marketing Dave Buck: [ in 2010]

"Comcast is so big in Philly," said Buck. "We'd need to program our own station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phillies games themselves would be one part of it, but then you'd need to be in the business of being a TV station.” 


Perhaps after about 100 more consecutive sellouts and Cliff Lee’s contract, Buck and the Phillies have changed their minds. TV networks are a HUGE source of revenue for wealthy franchises like the Yankees, Red Sox and Mets. And if the Phillies had their own network, they would, obviously, be better equipped to continue spending as much as the big boys (they might have the second highest payroll this season).

Gelb correctly points out that while TV, as a medium, is changing, sports may be the only genre mostly safe from the newfound viewing habits of, um, viewers. Most pre-recorded shows, newscasts and events can be watched online, OnDemand, through DVR, or even on phones and iPads… but sports are still best enjoyed live. Ever try watching a local game on DVR? Good luck not knowing the score. And since the leagues blackout local games online (for now– more on that in a second), live television remains the only way to watch local sports. So, that all means that a sports network probably isn’t as risky of an investment as, say, launching a TV station which focuses on any other genre

What Gelb failed to mention, though, and what might be a huge issue for TV in general, is that not only are viewing habits changing, but so is the entire industry.

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Andy Reid Blasts NFL Network

Kyle Scott - December 2, 2011

Screen Shot 2011-12-02 at 12.32.59 PM

There are many stones we can throw at DeSean Jackson, and he deserves to be hit with most of them (figurative), but the whole sideline incident last night was blown way out of proportion by the NFL Network. 

Andy Reid, who was surprisingly not a complete asshole today (he knows he’s done), thought so too:

"Let me tell you something, I had a chance to go over that with Derek. And I’m disappointed in a lot of things – very disappointed in the NFL network… very, very disappointed in the way they portrayed that. And DeSean, I’m going to tell you know, DeSean was all in that game. He had a great attitude during that game, and you can take a camera and make some things look the way you want to make them look, but that kid was all in last night, and I was proud of him for that."


Reid clearly didn’t appreciate the way that Brad Nessler, Mike Mayock, and Cole Hamels-voiced Alex Flanagan portrayed the incident– and he’s right. It was fairly obvious that Vince Young was talking to Riley Cooper, not DeSean, when the C-list broadcast crew alleged that Jackson was ignoring his quarterback.

Video of the sideline encounter and audio of Reid is after the jump.

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Video: Kurt Warner Gives Donovan McNabb a Pep Talk on National Television

Kyle Scott - December 1, 2011

Hey, Donovan, I'm here for the intervention

This had to be the most emasculating moment of Donovan McNabb’s life– Kurt Warner – the grey-haired quarterback with a man wife who beat McNabb in the 2009 NFC Championship game – giving Five a pick-me-up just hours after his requested release.

The have your mom to send us some soup comment from Rich Eisen probably didn’t help things.

MLB Network: How the Phillies Got Here

Kyle Scott - September 30, 2011

Must watch. Why they don't allow you to make these videos bigger… I don't know.

Video: Hunter Pence is Really Competitive

Kyle Scott - September 20, 2011

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MLB Network did a profile on Hunter Pence last week in Houston. Must-watch here, including Jimmy Rollins and Ryan Howard trying to imitate his practice swing.

MLB Network Speculates Wildly and Maturely About Roy Oswalt’s Back

Kyle Scott - April 22, 2011

The audio is very low, pump up the volume

I just want to be sure here. Roy Oswalt pitched six shutout innings last night, giving up one hit, striking out seven, walking only two, and throwing 73 of 106 pitches for strikes. Those are like… facts, right?

At first it seemed like Harold Reynolds and Larry Bowa were joking, considering Oswalt's impressive performance, but it was the second time they mentioned him looking like he was in pain.

He did look a bit, um, stiff to me. However, if he pitches like that (perhaps with a lower pitch count) every time out there, he can be stiff every day of the week… or at least every fifth day. TWSS.

H/T to Dan, who is killing it this week on the tips and grabs, the Ts and Gs, if you will

The Phillies Have No Financial Wiggle Room To Make Any Deals… For Real

Ryan Gillon - March 15, 2011


Above: A bored Ruben Amaro… that's what happens when you're not allowed to play, I mean… trade anymore.

Philles GM Ruben Amaro was a guest yesterday on MLB Network Radio with host Jim Duquette. With Chase Utley's patellar tendinitis, Dom Brown's hand injury, and Brad Lidge's own version of tendinitis, it was no surprise when Duquette asked Rube about any upgrades the team was looking to make during the final stretches of spring training.

This time, possibly more than ever, Amaro made it clear that there is nothin' doin'. David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News was able to get his hands on a transcript of the conversation between the two.

DUQUETTE: “This is the time of the spring when you’re starting to look at possibly bolstering your bullpen or your bench or whatever it might be, but from your stand point, is there room financially to make a bigger deal if it presented itself?”

AMARO: “Nope.”

DUQUETTE: “Not at all?”

AMARO: “No, there isn’t.  Anything else you want to ask me?” (laughs)  I don’t know how many times I can say that publicly.  I have no money to play with.  Our payroll is going to be over $160 million or so and I’m tapped out, my friend.  Maxed out.”

DUQUETTE: “We were hoping for you, but alright, we got you, we’ll stop asking the question.”

AMARO: “And those rumors you’re hearing about third basemen and acquiring [a] second baseman and third baseman?  All b.s., my friend.  Just so you know.”


Wow. He even took the extra step at the end there to make it clear that the Phils won't be going after Michael Young.

The variable that can't be ignored is that we've heard this all before. "We're probably done" and "that ship has sailed" mean relatively nothing because… well… if they did, Cliff Lee wouldn't be here. Neither would Roy Oswalt.

But this time, it does feel a little bit different. The team is already overextended on payroll, and when the piggy bank is empty, folks… it's empty…

…unless it's not, of course. You never know what this front office is capable of anymore. But if I had to guess, I would say Amaro isn't kidding this time. So it's time to stop concerning yourself with what more this team can do off the field.

Frankly, I'm more worried about the Phillies that can't stay on it. And so are you.

Don’t Expect The Phillies to Have Their Own TV Network Any Time Soon

Kyle Scott - September 19, 2010


Great article on today about the one difference that still reamins between the Phillies and teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets: a TV station.

The biggest money-maker for those teams is not ticket or merchandise sales, it's advertising revenue from their own TV networks.  As you know, the Phillies broadcast most of their games on CSN (their 45 on regular broadcast TV, like My PHL 17, is well above league average).  The Phillies used to own a small share of Comcast SportsNet, but after a few years they realized they were better at running a baseball team than they were at running a television network.  That means the Phillies still earn ad revenue (safe and secure with New York Life) from their broadcasts, but not nearly as much as some of their rivals to the north.

In 2009, the Yankees and Mets earned $417 million and $339 million from their YES and SNY networks, respectively.  That was more than all of their other income sources combined.  The Phillies, who won't divulge an exact number, didn't approach those numbers.

Baseball is the only sport with no salary cap.  That means the more you make, the more you can spend (of course, teams to have to pay a "luxury tax" to the poorer teams).  This is the reason the Phillies have a self-imposed soft cap on their 2010 payroll- around $140 million.  The Phillies only earn $123 million in ticket sales.  While that number may sound like a lot, it puts in perspective just how much other teams earn from owning their own networks.

The problems with the Phillies starting their own network are many.  Given the popularity of Comcast in Philadelphia, the Phillies would have to reach an agreement with them to televise their games. That could turn into a pissing match of epic proportions.  Further, the team would need to provide content 24/7.  CSN already does this in Philly.  The team doesn't think there is enough room for another, similar network.

"Comcast is so big in Philly," said Buck. "We'd need to program our own station 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Phillies games themselves would be one part of it, but then you'd need to be in the business of being a TV station.

So, don't expect to be watching games on "PSN" any time soon.  But, as the article details, if the Phillies keeping winning, the money will keep rolling in.