Comcast's Boston-sports-media gambit

The Globe* and Boston Sports Media Watch already noted this, but it bears mentioning nonetheless: Comcast Sports Net is joining the ongoing Boston-sports-media arms race in earnest, launching what it's dubbing "New England's deepest sports desk."

The press release follows. Here's my question for any voracious sports-media consumers out there: Right now, what's your first stop for sports news/commentary/vide? And do you see Comcast's gambit changing that at all?


BURLINGTON, MA (November 2, 2009) – Today Comcast SportsNet New England announced the network will introduce New England’s most comprehensive local sports news, delivered across multiple platforms by some of the region’s most familiar and experienced sports journalists and analysts. Comcast SportsNet’s expanded sports staff includes seasoned writers and reporters Sean McAdam, Tom Curran, Joe Haggerty, Chris Collins, Mike Giardi and many more.

Comcast SportsNet will premiere a new live, 30-minute, three-times-a-night sports show, SportsNet Central, to give fans the most in-depth local sports news and analysis.  The network is also relaunching to give fans comprehensive and continuously updated coverage of their local favorite teams, including exclusive video, original analysis from authentic local voices, and interactive community features and applications.

Comcast SportsNet Executive Vice President and General Manager Bill Bridgen stated, “Comcast SportsNet is committed to be the preeminent source for local sports news, analysis and debate in one of the most passionate sports markets in the country.  We have assembled a veteran roster of New England sports journalists to provide dedicated coverage of the Celtics, Red Sox, Patriots, Bruins and every local sports institution.  Our reporters, writers, analysts and insiders will serve hometown fans with the largest integrated on-air and online local sports news platform in the area.”

Comcast SportsNet will launch SportsNet Central on Thursday, December 3, at 6:00 p.m. SportsNet Central will air live each night at 6:00 p.m., 10:30 p.m. and 1:00 a.m.  On Sundays, Comcast SportsNet will air Sports Sunday at 10 p.m. in place of the 10:30 p.m. edition of SportsNet Central.

In addition to providing expanded sports coverage on television, Comcast SportsNet will operate the region’s most comprehensive and dedicated online local sports destination,, which will feature:

·         The most extensive local collection of exclusive online video, including player and coach interviews, press conferences plus content from Comcast SportsNet news shows;

·         Unparalleled home and away beat coverage of local teams including the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Bruins;  

·         Breaking news and analysis, including web-exclusive reports, from the region’s most informed local lineup of award-winning reporters, analysts, and personalities;

·         Community applications including blogs, game-day e-mail alerts, live game chats, and fan message boards.

“Sports fans turn to new technology first because of their voracious appetite for the latest information about their favorite teams, and we are investing in to create the premier digital source for local sports coverage,” said Eric Grilly, Comcast Sports Group executive vice president and chief digital officer.  “Deep New England roots and strong ties to the local sports community enable to provide original sports coverage around the clock, more local video than any other entity, and exclusive fan experiences with local teams and their players.”

To oversee, Comcast SportsNet has hired digital media veteran Bill Via as senior director of digital media. Via has been designing and implementing strategic digital campaigns since 1994 and has comprehensive television experience. Via has developed digital media strategies for A&E International, WGBH Boston, Telemundo and KHNL-TV in Honolulu, HI.

Comcast SportsNet has assembled the region’s largest local sports news team to provide coverage on air and online, including:

 ·          Veteran MLB reporter Sean McAdam will cover the Red Sox for Comcast SportsNet after 24 years with the Boston Herald and Providence Journal.  McAdam is a member of the Baseball Writers of America and a Baseball Hall of Fame voter.

·          Veteran NFL reporter Tom Curran will cover the Patriots after serving with, the Providence Journal and the MetroWest Daily News.

·          Sherrod Blakely, respected NBA reporter and Detroit Pistons beat writer for several Michigan newspapers and, will cover the Celtics.

·          Joe Haggerty will cover the Bruins for Comcast SportsNet after covering the Bruins and Red Sox for, Boston Metro and the Woburn Daily Times.

·          Art Martone, sports editor at the Providence Journal for the past nine years, will serve as sports editor.

·          Improper Bostonian sports editor and columnist Rich Levine will share humor and insight as a columnist and editor.

In addition to these new hires, NECN on-air personalities Chris Collins and Mike Giardi join the Comcast SportsNet news team, which already includes leading New England sports voices Michael Felger and Gary Tanguay, and recent additions Kevin Walsh, Carolyn Manno, Jessica Moran and Jackie Peper.   Comcast SportsNet’s entire news team will contribute to’s breaking news and expanded video coverage.

In total Comcast SportsNet is creating more than 40 new local newsroom reporting and production positions and has constructed a new newsroom, added a new studio set and expanded its production facilities at the network’s Burlington, MA headquarters. Comcast SportsNet is consolidating the sports news operations of NECN into its Burlington facility and will serve as the exclusive source of sports news on NECN and beginning on November 2.  NECN will air encore presentations of SportsNet Central each day at 6:30 p.m., 11:00 p.m. and 1:30 a.m. beginning Dec. 3. From Nov. 2 until Dec. 3, Comcast SportsNet’s Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight will run in place of Sports Late Night at 11 p.m.

Comcast SportsNet reaches more than four million households in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.  Comcast SportsNet’s programming includes live game coverage of the Boston Celtics, Mohegan Sun Sports Tonight, Celtics Now, Sports Sunday, The Baseball Show, New England Tailgate, and ‘net Impact. Comcast SportsNet’s partnership with the 17-time NBA Champion

Boston Celtics is the longest team-regional sports network relationship in New England and the fourth longest in professional sports. Comcast SportsNet New England is owned and managed by Comcast Sports Group. Visit for more information.

Comcast Sports Group operates 10 sports networks that deliver 2,400 sporting events annually and sports news and analysis to 40 million cable and satellite homes.  Comcast Sports Group’s networks are: Comcast SportsNet Bay Area, Comcast SportsNet California, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, Comcast SportsNet New England, Comcast SportsNet Northwest, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia, SNY, The Mtn. – Mountain West Sports Network, and CSS.  Comcast Sports Group also manages New England Cable News (NECN), the nation’s largest regional news network, and The Comcast Network, based in Philadelphia and Washington, which delivers community-oriented programming.  For more information, see

*NOTE: I'd missed the Globe story earlier; thanks to the reader who pointed it out. 

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