TV Answer Man, could you write a prediction on whether Comcast Xfinity will settle their differences with the MSG channels? We really miss watching the Knicks even if they suck most of the time. — Gary, Danbury, Connecticut.
Gary, Comcast on September 30 lost the MSG Networks in Connecticut and parts of New Jersey due to a carriage dispute. MSG and MSG+ are regional sports channels that have the local TV rights to the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders and New Jersey Devils.
Since the carriage row began, both sides have engaged in name-calling, and Comcast has refunded $3 of the monthly $10 regional sports channel fee to affected subscribers. (MSG says the refund shortchanges subscribers, but Comcast notes they still have access to other RSNs such as the YesNetwork and SNY.
I think it’s clear now that the two sides are far apart and no settlement is likely by year’s end. But what about 2022? Surely they will find common ground at some point during the year, right?
Wrong. Both companies seem unwilling to move from their positions, and Comcast has a history of doing without a regional sports network for an indefinite period of time. (The cable operator didn’t carry the ACC Network for two years; it will finally be added on December 22. And it also didn’t have the Yes Network for 16 months before returning it in 2017.)
Comcast also less reason to compromise with every day that falls off the calendar. It’s been without MSG now for 10 weeks. Subscribers who would be angry enough to cancel probably have already done so, assuming they are not bottled up in a two-year agreement.
So I predict that Comcast and MSG do not reach a settlement in 2022, either.
Phillip Swann, editor of TV Answer Man, and the former editor of TVPredictions.com, is making several predictions for what will happen in the TV technology industry in 2022. This is his sixth prediction. See his five previous predictions below:
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— Phillip Swann