Comcast is issuing a third round of regional sports channel rebates to some customers who could not watch live sports last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The company delivered rebates to some subscribers in October 2020 and again in December 2020 after the regional sports networks agreed to provide a credit to pay TV operators for past carriage fees. The refunds ranged from $8 to $25.
It’s unclear how much the new rebate is for, but some customers report it’s around $7.
“Many sporting events and broadcasts were put on hold last year from April through December due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Comcast says in one e-mail announcing the refund. “We continue to work hard to recover the fees regional sports networks charged us during the hiatus, and this adjustment reflects additional credits we received by the regional sports networks in your area. We’re committed to giving customers 100% of what we receive, now and in the future. You don’t need to take any action to receive this courtesy adjustment. It will be applied to your bill automatically this month.
Many cable and satellite operators charge a monthly regional sports channel fee to offset the cost of carrying the channels. The fee can be as much as $10 a month. However, the Coronavirus-induced sports blackout in March 2020 soon prompted subscribers to complain that they weren’t getting what they paid for.
That led to discussions between the sports channels and the TV providers, and the channels ultimately agreed to credit the providers for past carriage payments. AT&T, Verizon, Dish and Charter are other pay TV operators who have provided, or plan to provide, rebates following the collection of the credits.
Bloomberg News has reported that pay TV distributors may eventually return as much as $1.1 billion to regional sports subscribers.
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