If you’re a fan of the Wizards and Capitals and you live in Maryland, there’s a chance you won’t be able to see some Wizards and Capitals games on TV this year.
Verizon FiOS in Howard County and Anne Arundel County has yet to accomodate the Comcast SportsNet overflow channel known as CSN+, meaning that when the Wizards or Caps are playing at the same time, fans are shut out of seeing one of them.
Capitals fans are particularly riled up, as the team is off to a good start once again and figures to be playing meaningful games all year.
“I’m p***d off that I can’t see the games. I can’t afford season tickets, and now I’m being punished by Verizon,” wrote one fan on the Capitals official messageboard.
So who’s to blame? Well, after speaking with both CSN and Verizon officials, the issue appears to be a technical one involving Verizon’s FiOS 1 Channel. Verizon had been showing Orioles and Nationals games from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network on FiOS1, but did not announce until last month that it would pick up additional sports programming from CSN+. While FiOS1 has been able to broadcast games in D.C., Montgomery County and Northern Virginia, it doesn’t yet have the ability to show them in Howard and Anne Arundel Counties. The area around Hampton Roads, Va. is also affected.
Verizon spokeswoman Christy Reap emails:
“We continue to work on making CSN+ content available to customers in the parts of the D.C. area that do not get our FiOS1 channel, which is currently the only place FiOS customers can watch these games. We are working with Comcast to make this happen, but, unfortunately, it’s unlikely it will happen this season. We continue to offer a lot of other hockey content available on other channels, including games airing on local channels, CSN on channels 76 and 576 (HD), Versus on channels 90 and 590 (HD) and the NHL Network on channels 87 and 587(HD). And we hope to be able to bring customers all of the Caps games in the future.”
This statement doesn’t exactly explain the technical reasons why FiOS1 can carry CSN+ programming in one area but not another, nor does it explain why FiOS1 could carry MASN2 games everywhere during baseball season. My understanding, however, is that Verizon was able to essentially keep FiOS1 as the MASN2 channel all baseball season, airing ESPNews the when a game wasn’t being played. In the case of CSN+, they’d have to add games on a one-off basis, and that makes it technically trickier.
CSN spokesman Tim Fitzpatrick said the network would like to get the most widespread coverage it can, and has nailed down the the area inside the beltway but is still working on parts of Maryland.
“Unfortunately, Verizon is unable to carry games outside of [that area] and we are working with them on a solution,” he said.