There was no immediate word on a sale price, which does not include the Wells Fargo Center or the NHL’s Flyers, sources said Tuesday. David Blitzer of The Blackstone Group will join Harris as lead partner, according to sources familiar with the deal. Former player agent and Sacramento Kings executive Jason Levien also is part of the proposed ownership group, sources said. Apollo, which describes itself on its web site as specializing in “contrarian” investments and “distressed” assets, and Blackstone are not involved in the transaction.
Comcast SportsNet announced that Meredith Marakovits has joined the network as a sideline reporter for all of the Sixers’ home broadcasts. Marakovits covered the New York Mets and Yankees this past baseball season for ESPN 1050. Local sports fans will remember her from her days with Philadelphia’s ESPN 950, for which she covered the Phillies.
Before Comcast showed up Canby Telcom had televised Blazers games for years without an issue. The relationship between the franchise and the cable company was just fine until the Blazers signed a 10-year, $120 million agreement to give exclusivity to Comcast. That move threatens to rip apart the fan base at the seams. Because Comcast moved in, hiked rates for the channel, and used the Blazers as if they were a crow bar to pry non-Comcast customers from their satellite and cable providers.
The Oregonian has obtained Comcast SportsNet Northwest documents that demonstrate that Canby Telcom and some other companies who had the regional sports programming on their tier were charged an extra $26.28 per subscriber per year. Customers were passed this charge whether they had any interest in the Blazers or not. This happened because, unlike a lot of other suppliers of programming, Comcast requires cable companies to make their network part of basic-tier pricing.
Canby Telcom president Keith Galitz said, “That’s just too steep an increase for us, and it’s not in line with inflation or normal escalation of prices in the industry.” Comcast has gobbled up the exclusivity of a prime sports franchise in several markets across the country. I once told a high-ranking Comcast executive that Oregonians wouldn’t stand to be leveraged. That people were different here. He scoffed, and insisted they were just like people in other places.