I've never really had a beef with my cable company, Charter Communications. The signal is reliable, the HD channels look great, the On-Demand choices are good, and I don't feel we're being robbed price-wise. The DVR device could be a little easier to use, but it gets the job done, so I can't complain. Until today.
The bastards decided that they didn't want to air the Twins at Yankees game on Tuesday. And they may not feel like airing up to 45 other games either. Oh, and Dish Network, Mediacomm, and Cable One are bastards too.
Now, I did have a little heads up on the situation. Early Tuesday afternoon, I saw a link on Facebook to this article by 1500 ESPN. So I figured I'd better make a plan. I'm ok with listening to games on the radio, especially if I'm doing stuff outside. But since I'm crocheting a baby blanket that needs to get done soon (and I really should be working on it right now, but I need to calm down first -- angry crocheting is sloppy crocheting), I'd have preferred to watch it on TV. So I looked at Charter's website to verify. This is what I saw:
Okey dokey, I'm set, right? WRONG.
They did air the Twins Live program, so I happily watched that as I cooked supper (Asian beef noodle, by the way). Then right at 6:00 pm, my TV started showing poker. Friggen' poker?!
So, I did what I always do when I'm confused or disdained -- I went to Twitter.
(I figure it's a bot, since I didn't get the reply from @CharterJeremy; I got it from @CharterGeorge)
I answered back with a snotty comment that maybe they should say something on their effing website about the game not airing. Five minutes worth of clicking around their site revealed nothing about it. I felt it was a little like false advertising. The Fox Sports North Twins page doesn't say anything about it either.
And to take it a step further, someone helpfully informed me that the game was on MLB Network, but when I finally tuned in to that, I saw the Boston at Cleveland game. To be fair, I chose to do some of the listen-to-the-radio-while-I-do-stuff-outside stuff for a while, so it may have been on and they switched it. However, I doubt it -- MLB Network generally airs entire games. It really smells like Charter wanted to make sure the game was blacked out by every means possible.
So, clearly, this is about money. I mean, when it comes to broadcast rights, what isn't about money? But I don't get why Charter wouldn't want to air every Twins game FSNorth carries. Of course, the details of the dispute aren't being revealed, but I have to assume that FSN wants more dough for those extra 45 games. And I suppose, Charter is playing chicken hoping that the advertisers grumble to FSN about losing some of the audience and consequently relents on the monetary demands.Who knows? As they "work in good faith" to provide a resolutions "that is in the best interest of the customers," who's really getting screwed? The customers are.
So, Charter, Dish Network, Mediacomm, and Cable One, considering that you're already airing 105 games, what's the harm in airing the other 45? I mean, seeing as how mad your customers are tonight, what are you gaining by showing us poker?
Oh, and when I started this rant, the Twins were down 0-4. At that point, I didn't feel so bad about missing the game. Apparently angry blogging is good luck for the Twins. Sucks for me.
I received a bunch of comments from folks who are equally pissy. I also received a comment from Charter. Be sure to read them.
So, our non-bot human Charter friend is trying to be helpful, and I'm sure he and his colleagues have the suckiest job on earth today. But, I'm not sure it was so important to explain that they're not bots, while failing to address the real issues here. Plus, he spelled my name wrong; I hate that.
Obviously, the biggest issue is their customers not seeing the games. Over a hundred other providers in Twins Territory have figured out a way to carry the games. When there only four hold-outs, I gotta think it's think it's the hold-outs' problem.
But the secondary, and also a very important, concern is their blatant lack of communication on the matter. I did finally get a reply from the Umatter2Charter non-bot human guys regarding the snotty comment I made about the schedule showing the game. He said "The guide couldn't be changed in time as negotiations continued today. We'll def let customers know once a decision is made." B. S. First of all, it's a website. You can change a website in about 4 minutes tops, and that includes booting up the computer. Secondly, I don't know, here's a thought: put the current schedule as it stands today on the website and correct it when you do finally come to an agreement!!! I did my due diligence as a customer to try to figure out if I could watch the game, and I was misled. And it's still listing misleading information on future games they won't air.
Additionally, Charter isn't telling customers which games are blocked. My husband stopped by the Charter office to ask about it, and the non-bot human behind the desk had no idea (he also didn't have a satisfactory answer to my husband's question about our not-so-easy-to-use DVR device -- he may as well have been a bot).
Here is a list from Fox Sports North of the games that will be blocked by Charter in April. And yes, these games are listed on the Charter website.
Also, check out The Sports Daddy's take on this. He did a much better job explaining the whole frustrating mess than I did. In spite of that, he did link back to my blog, which was great (thanks!) and generated a lot of traffic. Plus, he spelled my name right.
I'm done ranting about this for awhile. Now on to that crocheting.