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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.”

Brandon Contes

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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.

Sports TV News

Stephen A. Smith: ‘I Had To Wait Until My Mother Passed to Write My Book’

“I’ve never ran before, so there was no way I was going to start with this book.”

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An autobiography from Stephen A. Smith is due in stores early next year. Straight Shooter: A Memoir of Second Chances and First Takes is an all-encompassing look at the First Take star’s life from his childhood to today.

Smith appreciates privacy and has been hesitant to talk about his personal life in the past. Occasionally he has made exceptions for shows hosted by friends and people in the business that he respects.

On Wednesday’s episode of First Take, Stephen A. Smith said that was largely due to a promise he made to his mother.

“She told me never to write a book until she passed away, because she knows I’m gonna say what I need to say,” he told Molly Qerim and Chris Russo. “I’m gonna speak my mind and I’m gonna speak my truth. There are things in there that she would not have wanted me to reveal while she was alive.”

He added that writing it made him more uncomfortable than he anticipated.

“There’s a lot in there that I didn’t want to tell, but if you gonna write a book, you gotta tell it.”

Russo joked that clearly Smith is excited. He had texted the New York radio legend the cover and some information about the book earlier in the summer.

Qerim has received some of that material too. She told Smith that what she has seen and read is very impressive.

“This is huge, and I’m proud of you. It’s hard to tell. I know you’ve kept your personal life close to the vest. For you to open up, I think people are going to respect you even more when they learn more about you.”

Stephen A. Smith noted that in addition to his childhood and his professional triumphs, the book will also revisit the controversies that surrounded him at points in his career. He noted the goal of the book was not necessarily to make him look good, but to help people better understand the man they see on TV each morning.

“I’ve never ran before, so there was no way I was going to start with this book,” Smith said.

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Sports TV News

Golf Channel, Brandel Chamblee Facing Defamation Lawsuit From Patrick Reed

During a Golf Channel broadcast, Chamblee had reportedly accused Reed of cheating during the Hero World Challenge after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his ball placement in a bunker.

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Golf Channel and analyst Brandel Chamblee are being sued by golfer Patrick Reed after Reed alleged “misreporting information with falsity and/or reckless disregard of the truth” by the network and Chamblee.

In a lawsuit filed Tuesday, Reed claims Golf Channel, Chamblee, and PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan have conspired against him since he joined the PGA Tour while trying to “destroy his reputation, create hate and a hostile work environment for him”.

Reed, who has faced cheating allegations dating back to his college golf days, had his legal representation send a cease-and-desist letter to Chamblee in 2020. During a Golf Channel broadcast, Chamblee had reportedly accused Reed of cheating during the Hero World Challenge after being assessed a two-stroke penalty for improving his ball placement in a bunker. Reed claimed he did not intend to improve his lie.

Reed, 2018 winner of The Masters, alleges that Chamblee’s allegations have caused fans to heckle him and label him a cheater at events.

Patrick Reed defected from the PGA Tour in June to join the Saudi-backed LIV Golf organization. He is seeking $750 million in damages.

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Sports TV News

Joe Girardi Joining Marquee Sports Network

“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi.

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Marquee Sports Network has announced that former Chicago Cubs catcher, and Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies manager Joe Girardi is joining the network as a game analyst. Girardi will work this weekends series between the Cubs and Brewers, as well as a series against the Marlins in September.

Girardi has previously worked as an analyst for YES Network, MLB Network, and Fox Sports.

“I’m excited to join Marquee and look forward to working alongside Boog, JD, and Taylor this weekend at Wrigley Field,” said Girardi. “Growing up a Cubs fan and then having the chance to play for the team for a number of years, I’m honored to now have the opportunity to broadcast from the historic television broadcast booth.”

After a three-time World Series winner as a player, Girardi spent 15 seasons in the big leagues, seven of which came with the Cubs. The former catcher has spent parts of 14 seasons as a manager with the Marlins, Yankees, and Phillies. Girardi was fired as the manager of the Phillies on June 3rd.

“We’re pleased to welcome Joe Girardi to the Marquee Sports Network team,” said Marquee Sports Network General Manager, Mike McCarthy. “His insights as a long-time Cubs player and big league manager will be a valuable addition to the broadcasts. Welcome Joe!”

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