With no live sports on TV, fans want their cable and satellite costs lowered

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By Joel Alderman

There is an old saying “You get what you pay for.” But in at least one case those words could be changed to “You don’t get what you pay for.” We are paying to get sports competition on cable-TV and satellite channels, but there are no live events to show because there are no live events period.

Most people have these channels included in their cable packages, whether they are or are not sports fans.

But in the midst of the turmoil caused by the coronavirus pandemic, many consider this is a relatively insignificant concern. Nevertheless, the nation’s sports addicts are beginning to question why they are being charged for a cable TV or satellite service that includes sports channels when those channels are virtually worthless because there are no sports events to televise. How long can we be satisfied with replays of past games or simulated computer-generated contests? How many “Yankee Classics” (which the Yankees never lose, incidentally) can we watch?

Not that this is wholly the fault of the cable and satellite companies, but something is wrong somewhere. If sports were available when the service was first taken on and it is not now anywhere to be seen, did anyone foresee a situation where live contests were 99% shut down?

Probably not. But that’s where we have been for several weeks, where we are now, and where we will be for an indefinite time. So shouldn’t we be given a rebate and an adjustment in the cost?

Still getting sports channels but without live sports

Of course, the monthly bills, whether or not they are itemized, still can include YES, SNY, NESN, ESPN (in all of its forms except ESPN+), NBC-Sports, CBS-Sports, Fox Sports, Golf Channel, MLB Network, NBA TV, NFL Network, and more, depending on where one lives and how much one is willing to pay.

For about a month these networks have been struggling to provide enough content to justify payment by the consumer. But have they?

A study made by Consumer Reports shows that one cable company charged a “monthly regional sports fee” from $0 to $7.29 depending on one’s ZIP code. (For more, go to: This gives some graphic examples showing how the sports public is contributing to the subsidizing of sports and virtually everything else on these channels.

“Bundling” is the culprit

Confusion exists in the industry because of the practice of where mostly all programing is “bundled” so that even non-sports fans are paying for sports. And now the reverse is true. Those who are indeed sports addicts are paying the same as what the others are shelling out.

What networks pay sports leagues and teams keeps going up and up, and the increases are passed on to the subscribers.

Streaming services a good alternative

There are a host of streaming services such as ESPN+, which show boxing and a vast array of college sports, Other streaming video companies are DAZN, fuboTV, and YouTube TV, along with numerous local and regional sports networks which can all be seen on computers and smartphones.

Meanwhile, whether it is traditional over the air TV, cable, satellite, or streaming video, the sports fans had little to watch lately. Most of us have no interest sitting in front of a TV set watching something we already know the outcome of.

Not the time to complain

However, let’s not complain during our world crisis.

But let’s not get ripped off either.

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