Q. I heard yesterday that Comcast said it’s giving rebates back to subscribers for missing out on sports during the Covid shutdown. When will this happen and how much will we get back? I would like to use it for a last-minute summer trip! — Nathan, Baltimore.
Hold on, Nathan. Comcast said yesterday in a conference call with financial analysts that it “expects” to receive some money back from the regional sports networks (RSNs) for carrying their channels during the Coronavirus pandemic.
As you know, pay TV operators, such as Comcast, pay the channels to carry their signals, but the channels were basically worthless during the shutdown because they didn’t air any live sports. So Comcast says it believes the regional sports channels will return some of those carriage fees. The cable operator should know, being the owner of eight regional sports networks itself.
“We expect that we’ll be getting some monies back from some of the sports leagues based on games played or not played in the U.S. And when that does happen, we as we’ve said, we’ll pass that back along to customers,” Comcast CFO Mike Cavanagh told the financial analysts.
Comcast’s Twitter customer service page later on Thursday expanded Cavanagh’s remarks by saying the company intends to give 100 percent of the money it receives from the RSNs back to subscribers.
Due to the hiatus in sports broadcasting, Xfinity expects to receive refunds from some regional sports networks. We intend to offer 100% of what we receive to our customers as a courtesy adjustment. Details are forthcoming. Visit https://t.co/o3fU5maTuH for updates.
— ComcastCares (@comcastcares) July 30, 2020
But, Nathan, before you book that summer trip, we still don’t know when the sports channels will return the money, how much it will be, how long it will take Comcast to process it, and how much each Comcast subscriber will ultimately get.
As you can now probably guess, the entire process could take weeks or months. And when the rebate is ready to be distributed, it will likely be less, and perhaps far less, than $100 for each subscriber who gets it. For instance, Comcast might decide simply to return the regional sports channel fee, which is now $8.75 a month, for every month from March to July when play was suspended due to the pandemic. That would come to $43.75.
The devil is always in the details, Nathan.
I will monitor this situation and report back here when I get more information. I will also keep my eyes out for other pay TV providers offering sports rebates.
Until then, happy viewing and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann