CSN Philadelphia Pitching Surcharge for Additional Phillies Telecasts

Following its new rights deal with the hometown Phillies, Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia is pitching a subscriber surcharge for the additional ballgames the regional sports network will air this season and beyond.

CSN Philadelphia said it has connected with the “vast majority” of distributors that carry the service, including owner Comcast.

The two notable holdouts – in addition to DirecTV and Dish Network which have never carried the RSN – are Verizon and RCN. A spokesman for the telco said it was in discussions with CSN Philadelphia, but would not handicap whether it expected to reach agreement on the surcharge before the 2014 campaign begins next week. RCN didn’t respond to questions. The Phillies open their season against the Texas Rangers on Monday, March 31.

It was unclear at presstime how much CSN Philadelphia is seeking for the extra ballgames – at least 33 contests and possibly more depending on how many Phillies’ affairs national carriers Fox, ESPN and Turner will put in play this season. In what has been a standard gambit for many RSNs when they add more telecast to their roster, CSN Philadelphia will not make the additional games available to distributors that don’t consummate deals.

Under a 25-year rights pact reportedly valued at some $2.5 billion over its term, CSN Philadelphia will televise a minimum of 133 Phillies games, with another 12 and 13 on WCAU-NBC, which, like the RSN, is owned by NBCUniversal.

Under the old contract that was set to expire after the 2015 season, CSN Philadelphia aired 100 Phillies games and WPHL presented 45 others. The new long-term agreement knocks WPHL out of the coverage box.