TV Answer Man, I know DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream say they have all the regional sports networks, but do you know if they carry NBC Sports Philadelphia which has all the Philly sports teams? — Joseph, Dover, Delaware. 

Joseph, you’re right. NBC Sports Philadelphia has the regional TV rights to the Philadelphia Phillies, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Philadelphia 76ers. And you’re also right that DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream carry almost all the regional sports networks, including some hard-to-get ones such as SportsNet LA, Altitude, MASN and MSG.

But the two TV services do not carry NBC Sports Philadelphia and the reason dates back 25 years!

NBC Sports Philadelphia is owned jointly by Comcast (75 percent) and the Phillies (25 percent). The cable operator acquired a majority interest in the channel in 1996. Soon thereafter, DIRECTV filed a complaint with the Federal Communications Commission that claimed Comcast would not allow it to carry the regional sports network because it wanted to limit competition from the relatively new satellite TV industry.

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About 13 years later (yes, the government tends to move slowly), the FCC finally modified a rule that basically forced Comcast to negotiate carriage of the channel with both DIRECTV and Dish. The satcasters soon alleged that Comcast didn’t negotiate in “good faith” and the discussions fizzled. (Comcast supposedly demanded that DIRECTV allow it to carry the NFL Sunday Ticket as part of a deal for NBC Sports Philadelphia.)

The dispute was never settled and neither DIRECTV (and Stream) nor Dish have carried NBC Sports Philadelphia since the FCC ruling.

Comcast, of course, denied the allegations by the satellite companies and it’s impossible to say who was telling the truth because the rates and offers were never publicized. However, in addition to Comcast, Verizon, Optimum, RCN, Armstrong, FuboTV, Hulu and YouTube TV all do carry NBC Sports Philadelphia now.

Joseph, hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!

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— Phillip Swann