Verizon Fios Frustrating Some Caps Fans in D.C. Area

Posted on November 18, 2009

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This story hasn’t gotten much coverage from the mainstream media or the blogosphere yet, but hopefully it will soon.

For whatever reason, Verizon Fios is not carrying CSN+ in Howard County, Anne Arundel County and other markets. This is leaving some fans of the Washington Capitals without access to quite a few game broadcasts that some of their neighbors in other parts of the D.C. area can still view on their Fios service.

Last Friday night, when the Caps played the Minnesota Wild at home in Verizon Center, Verizon Fios viewers in those areas couldn’t get the game as it was carried on CSN+, rather than on the standard Comcast Sportnet. It wasn’t the first time this has happened this season and it will happen again this weekend when the team travels to Toronto, and then again a week later when the Caps play Montreal the Saturday after Thanksgiving.

And those won’t be the last games these Fios customers won’t get this season—they’ll also miss two games in December, three in January and another in February. It’s about a dozen games total—or almost 15% of the schedule–that some Fios customers won’t see. When you’re a fan, that’s a lot. When you’re an organization that’s playing some fantastic hockey that you’d like for as many fans and potential fans as possible to see, it’s not ideal either.

It’s not as if these areas are outside of Caps territory. My parents are Fios customers, Caps full season ticket holders and live in Howard County, just over 25 miles from downtown D.C. The Caps even market the team another 20 miles up the road from them in Baltimore. There are plenty of Caps fans throughout Howard, Anne Arundel and beyond, especially these days when the team is on marketing fire.

A search for Fios on the Caps message boards produces links to multiple threads from fans trying to understand why they can’t get these games on their TV.

On Verizon’s online forums, the “Suggest Channels to Add to Fios” thread has quite a few comments from Caps fans suggesting CSN+ be made available to them—though no one from Verizon seems to logging in and replying to them (they should consider doing that before frustration builds further for the fans posting there).

I sent some tweets to Verizon, asking about this issue. They got back to me today saying “CSN+ coverage of #Caps games is only avail in D.C. and some burbs. Hoping to have that expanded for nxt season.”

NEXT SEASON?! Unleash the fury, Caps fans! I’d really like to see better communication from Verizon on this, explaining exactly why they can provide CSN+ for viewers in some parts of the area but not others and why it will take until next season to resolve the issue.

Note: I’ve focused on Howard and Anne Arundel here because they are the areas where I’ve seen this problem firsthand or read about it being an issue. I’ve seen mentions of other areas affected by this, so if it affects you, please let me know—the comments are open.

New updates on the Fios/CSN+ issue:
11/19/09 – An update on the Verizon FiOS & CSN+ situation
11/24/09 – FiOS Update…Why Some Get Two MASNs But Not Two CSNs
12/5/09 – …Verizon FiOS has “solution for the ‘over flow’ games”
2/2/10 – Verizon FiOS Adding CSN+ By Tomorrow…

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Posted in: PR/Marketing, Sports