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NBC Sports Philadelphia

NBC Sports Philadelphia is an American regional sports network owned by the NBC Sports Group unit of NBCUniversal, which in turn is owned by locally based cable television provider Comcast (and owns a controlling 75% interest), and the Philadelphia Phillies (which owns the remaining 25%). It is the flagship owned-and-operated outlet of NBC Sports Regional Networks. The channel broadcasts regional coverage of professional sports teams in the Philadelphia metropolitan area, as well as college sports events and original sports-related news, discussion and entertainment programming.

NBC Sports Philadelphia is available on cable and fiber optic television providers throughout southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey and most of Delaware. The network maintains main studios and offices located inside the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia's South Philadelphia district; it also operates a small secondary studio inside Citizens Bank Park, which is used sporadically during Major League Baseball season.

HistoryEdit

The network traces its history to March 19, 1996, when Comcast acquired a 66 percent stake in Spectacor, the parent company of the Philadelphia Flyers, The Spectrum and the then-recently completed CoreStates Center, for $240 million and the assumption of a collective $170 million in debt. Ed Snider, the previous majority owner of Spectacor, stayed on as the managing partner and chairman of the renamed Comcast Spectacor. On the day the deal closed, Comcast Spectacor immediately purchased a 66% interest in the Philadelphia 76ers.[1][2]

Immediately after the purchase was announced, speculation arose as to whether Comcast would let at least some of Spectacor's television contracts with premium cable network PRISM and existing regional sports network SportsChannel Philadelphia (both owned by Rainbow Media) run out, and create a sports network of its own, displacing both existing networks from Comcast and other cable providers in Southeastern Pennsylvania (Comcast, however, had reached a ten-year agreement with Rainbow to continue carriage of PRISM and SportsChannel, as well as the company's other networks in the fall of 1995); buy the existing networks; or reach a complex deal with Rainbow to have both networks retain the broadcast rights to the 76ers and Flyers.[3][4]

Within days of the purchase, Comcast indicated that was considering launching a new RSN, and approached the Philadelphia Phillies about entering into a broadcast deal.[1] PRISM and SportsChannel Philadelphia's joint contract to carry most of the Flyers' NHL games was set to end that fall, while the Phillies' contract ended after the 1997 season, leaving them both open to enter negotiations with Comcast Spectacor.

After short-lived discussions between Rainbow Media and Comcast about the latter possibly becoming a part-owner in PRISM and SportsChannel Philadelphia,[5] on April 25, 1996, Comcast Spectacor formally announced plans to create a new Philadelphia-centric sports network, which would carry both the Flyers and Sixers; it also signed a deal with the Phillies, giving the new network rights to most of their Major League Baseball games.[6][7] The deal strained relations between Rainbow and Comcast Spectacor somewhat; Rainbow offered a lower bid for the Flyers telecast rights during negotiations for a one-year extension of its contract. Disagreements between the Flyers and Rainbow Media over the amount the team would receive for the 1996–97 season contract, led the Flyers to announce plans in late September that it would assume production responsibilities for its home game broadcasts and sell the local rights to its game telecasts to individual cable providers as a backup plan if deal did not come to fruition.[8] Rainbow and Comcast Spectacor finally reached a one-year, $5 million contract extension to keep its locally televised games on PRISM and SportsChannel on October 4, 1996, the day before its season home opener.[9]

On July 21, 1997, Comcast acquired the local television rights to broadcast the 76ers' NBA games on the new Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, with the team choosing to opt out of its contract with PRISM and SportsChannel that was set to run until the 1999–2000 season.[10] After much uncertainty, which included plans for PRISM and SportsChannel to become affiliates of Fox Sports Net (after News Corporation and Liberty Media purchased 40% of the sports assets owned by Rainbow parent Cablevision on June 30, 1997[11][12]), Comcast then reached agreements with Liberty and Rainbow Media to replace PRISM with the Liberty-owned premium movie channel Starz! (which at the time, was starting to expand its carriage outside of systems operated by its then co-owner Tele-Communications, Inc.).[13][14]

Reports indicated that Comcast SportsNet initially would charge a per subscriber rate of $1.50 a month (representatives for Comcast Spectacor stated the rate was closer to the range of $1.20 to $1.35) to participating cable providers, described as "one of the most expensive – if not the most expensive" basic cable channel in the United States (a distinction that was eventually assumed by the nationally distributed ESPN); SportsChannel Philadelphia, by comparison, charged providers that carried the network between 25¢ and 35¢ a month per subscriber. The company's demand that CSN Philadelphia be offered as a basic cable service resulted in complaints by some local providers (including Wade Cable, Lower Bucks Cablevision and Harron Communications) because of the higher per subscriber rate; however, Jack Williams, who was appointed as the original president of CSN Philadelphia, said that the company would "not accept any arrangement other than running SportsNet as a basic channel."[15] By September 1997, CSN had secured cable coverage reaching approximately 1.5 million households (or 60% of the network's regional territory).[16]

Williams promised that the network would carry more local programming than other regional sports networks, with an estimated seven to eight hours of live sports, and various news and discussion programs (including a four-hour morning sports news program, and news and interview program in the late afternoon).[10][17]

Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia launched on October 1, 1997, replacing SportsChannel Philadelphia on local cable systems within the Philadelphia metropolitan area;[18][19] with the launch, Comcast SportsNet became the Philadelphia affiliate of Fox Sports Net.[20] Comcast expanded the Comcast SportsNet brand to other markets over the next several years, through the purchases of Fox Sports regional networks in San Francisco and Boston as well as the launches of new channels in markets such as Chicago, Houston and northern California.


With Comcast's acquisition of NBCUniversal in 2011, Comcast SportsNet was also integrated into the new NBC Sports Group unit, culminating with the addition of the peacock logo and an updated graphics package to mirror that of its parent network. The updated graphics were implemented on CSN's live game coverage and all studio shows, with the exception of SportsNet Central. In September 2012, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia and its sister Comcast SportsNet outlets ceased carrying Fox Sports Networks-supplied programming, after failing to reach an agreement to continue carrying FSN's nationally distributed programs.[21] On January 2, 2014, as part of an agreement reached on a 25-year broadcasting contract with the team (with the network paying the team $100 million in rights fees each season through 2041, totaling around $2.5 billion), the Philadelphia Phillies acquired a 25% equity stake in Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia.[22]

Comcast rebranded the network as NBC Sports Philadelphia on October 2, 2017, as part of a larger rebranding of the Comcast SportsNet networks under the NBC Sports brand.[23] However, the network's legal name remains Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia LP, per the copyright notice on the network's Website.

ProgrammingEdit

Sports coverageEdit

NBC Sports Philadelphia holds the regional television rights to the NBA's Philadelphia 76ers,[10] NHL's Philadelphia Flyers, the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball[6] and the Philadelphia Union of Major League Soccer. In addition to live game telecasts, the network carries pre-game and pre-game shows under the Pre Game Live and Post Game Live banners that bookend 76ers (Sixers Pre Game Live and Sixers Post Game Live), Phillies (Phillies Pre Game Live and Phillies Post Game Live), Flyers (Flyers Pre Game Live and Flyers Post Game Live), and Union (Union Pre Game Live and Union Post Game Live) telecasts. Since 2010, the network has also produced a limited schedule of Phillies regular season games for NBC owned-and-operated sister station WCAU (channel 10). Although it does not hold the regional rights to the NFL games involving the Philadelphia Eagles, the network also produces pre-game and post-game shows on each game day (Eagles Pre Game Live and Eagles Post Game Live).

The network formerly served as the broadcaster of American Hockey League games involving the Philadelphia Phantoms (an affiliate team of the Flyers) until the team relocated to Glens Falls, New York as the Adirondack Phantoms in 2009. It also carried indoor soccer matches involving the Philadelphia KiXX from 1998 until the National Professional Soccer League folded in 2001; as well as National Lacrosse League games featuring the Philadelphia Wings until that team relocated to Uncasville, Connecticut as the New England Black Wolves in 2014.

Other programmingEdit

NewsEdit

  • SportsNet Central
  • Philly Sports Talk
  • 'net IMPACT

Ice hockeyEdit

  • The Orange Line

NBC Sports Philadelphia PlusEdit

NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus is a complimentary full-time channel that serves as an overflow network in the event that two local games are scheduled to air simultaneously on NBC Sports Philadelphia. The network was previously known as the Comcast Network.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 Michael Sokolove. "Comcast Buying 76ers And Flyers Phils Also May Get Involved With Firm", March 20, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  2. Edward Moran. "Picture Starts To Clear Sports Deal Gets Comcast's Foot In Door For New Channel", December 4, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  3. Sam Donnellon. "Prism, Sportschannel On Way Out?", March 20, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  4. Michael L. Rozansky. "Comcast Deal Isn't The End Of Prism It Could Benefit Both Firms To Leave The TV Rights As They Are", March 24, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  5. "COMCAST WELCOME AS AN INVESTOR IN PHILADELPHIA RSNS", March 28, 1996. Retrieved on April 13, 2015. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Edward Moran. "Comcast Puts Prism On Ropes Phils Agree To Join Flyers, Sixers In Fledgling All-sports Cable Channel", April 26, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  7. James McConville. "Comcast launching Philly sports channel", April 29, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  8. Bill Fleischman. "Flyers Reach New Cable Deals", September 30, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  9. Bill Fleischman. "Flyers And Prism Ink Last-minute TV Deal", October 5, 1996. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Bill Fleischman. "New Sportsnet Reels In Sixers", July 22, 1997. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  11. John M. Higgins. "National net keys regional deal", June 30, 1997. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  12. Bill Fleischman. "Fox/Liberty Deal Impacts Local Cable Sportschannel Philadelphia Likely To Benefit", June 24, 1997. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  13. (July 21, 1997). Comcast Commits to Launch STARZ! in Philadelphia; More Than 300,000 Comcast Customers Will See STARZ! by October 1. Press release.
  14. Rose DeWolf. "Starz On The Horizon Goodbye Prism & Sports Channel; What's Next Depends On Where You Hang The Clicker", August 25, 1997. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  15. Donna Petrozzello. "Basic launch for Philadelphia sports channel; local operators complain Comcast/Spectacor wants too high a price", September 15, 1997. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  16. "WILL COMCAST SPORTSNET OCTOBER 1 LAUNCH GET WIDE EXPOSURE?", September 8, 1997. Retrieved on April 13, 2015. 
  17. "MORE DETAILS ON COMCAST'S NEW PHILADELPHIA SPORTS CHANNEL", July 28, 1997. Retrieved on April 13, 2015. 
  18. Mike Bruton. "Comcast Scores Big With Sports Network The 24-hour Comcast Sportsnet Will Debut Oct. 1 And Carry Phillies, Sixers And Flyers Games", July 22, 1997. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  19. Local TV Sports Fans To See A Change, In Cost Sportschannel And Prism Are Going, Going. . . . A New Basic Cable Channel Takes Over. (July 27, 1997). Retrieved on September 5, 2012.
  20. "COMCAST SPORTSNET LAUNCHES OCTOBER 1, LANDS 76ERS' RIGHTS", July 22, 1997. Retrieved on April 13, 2015. 
  21. John Ourand. "NBC Sports Group Drops FSN Programming From Comcast RSNs", August 14, 2012. Retrieved on April 15, 2015. 
  22. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named PhilliesCSNStake
  23. NBC Sports Regional Networks to align CSN and TCN properties under 'NBC Sports' brand. NBC Sports Regional Networks (August 23, 2017). Retrieved on August 23, 2017.

External linksEdit

Philadelphia Flyers
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Division titles 1967-68, 1973-74, 1974-75, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1979-80, 1982-83, 1984-85, 1985-86, 1986-87, 1994-95, 1995-96, 1999-2000, 2001-02, 2003-04
Conference Championships 1974-75, 1975-76, 1976-77, 1979-80, 1984-85, 1986-87, 1996-97
Stanley Cups 1973-74, 1974-75
Affiliates Philadelphia Phantoms (AHL), Wheeling Nailers (ECHL)
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