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

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…

29 thoughts on “Verizon Fios Frustrating Some Caps Fans in D.C. Area

  1. I’m in Richmond..had it on Comcast, switched to FIOS and it’s gone.. very frustrating.

    What’s the best way to voice discern to them?

    • Chris, you can post to the Verizon forums (see link above in the post). If you use Twitter, you can send a message to @VerizonSupport. But the answer I got was basically, “hopefully next season.” I’ve read comments online from people who have called customer service about the issue but not gotten anywhere with it.

      I think the best bet is to get the word out about the issue in public forums as much as possible. If more bloggers and members of the media discuss it, and if customers voice their complaints to the point that Verizon feels they could lose business over it, maybe the company will address it before next season.

      I’d like for Verizon to comment on why some Fios customers in the Washington region can get the channel and others can’t—maybe there’s a good explanation. But they need to communicate it if there is one.

  2. This situation bites the big one. Just switched to Fios this season and it’s close to a deal breaker for me. They have about 20 public access channels they could bump for CSN . I’m in Virginia Beach and had Cox (and CSN ) before. Those cox customer buy back deals they keep sending me are look pretty nice right about now. My brother is on the same boat and feels the same way. They might lose two customers if they don’t fix it.

  3. I live in Howard County and last year I was able to get CSN+ by plugging into the digital “cable” feed. This year, even this is cut off. It makes no sense. They carry FIOS1 during the entire baseball season and then cut it off when it is over. They have already invested in bringing the channel to HoCo. It would seem to me that all they have to do is flip a switch. Incredibly frustrating.

  4. Same for me in SW Balt. County. Although I have not searched the channels extensively enough to check out Channel 1 as suggested by previous commenters.

  5. perhaps the better question is: why are the wizards STILL getting priority over us? are they actually getting better ratings? (<- not rhetorical maybe they are)

  6. Thanks for all the comments, everyone.

    To those who mentioned CSN+ airing on Fios Channel 1, that is not happening in the areas I’m referring to.

    To figure out what channel CSN+ airs on through your cable provider, check out this page on the CSN website: http://www.csnwashington.com/pages/plus

    On that page, notice that under the Fios listing in the right-hand column, places like Howard and Anne Arundel are missing. Those Fios customers don’t get the CSN+ games, not even on Channel 1.

  7. Hey Mike- Have you also contacted CSN? At the very beginning of the 2008-2009 season, Cox customers were without CSN+. A huge amount of pressure was placed on both entities to reach an agreement. I was very actively involved in the grassroots efforts with mobilizing fans and bloggers and contacting both entities plus the Caps. Not that I had anything to do with the issue getting resolved, but maybe CSN needs to know that there’s a demand in those areas so they can be more aggressive with pursuing a deal with Verizon.

    At the time, I was worried about missing games and switched to DirecTV, but had problems with them and I’m back with Cox now and happy to be able to see ALL games.

    BTW, I’m grateful all games are televised but the CSN+ feed really sucks. I wish CSN could come up with a better solution for nights with conflicting events.

  8. Funny to see this today, I fired off an email to Ted Leonsis immediately after the game Friday, and as soon as I found out I wouldn’t be seeing Saturdays game either. THe gist of my email is that the Caps should be puttin gpressure on Comcast. After all, it is Comcast who is choosing to show a last place Wizards team (or in the case of Saturday, a Charleston Southern basketball game) over a first place Caps team.

    The response I received was not very helpful as I was told Comcast tries to split the number of times the Wizards and Caps are moved to CSN+. The condensed schedule this year is apparently not helping either.

  9. I’m a partial season ticket holder in Baltimore county, a half mile from Howard county and I can’t stand how we have been forgotten on this issue.

    Fios 1 carries the nats here, no reason they can’t carry the caps. They play in the verizon center, you’d think they could work something out with their arena sponsor.

  10. I live in Davidsonville (AA county) and I’m angry too – WTF? I’m probably geographically closer to DC than many in Montgomery or NoVA.

    Imagine my embarrassment when I had family over to watch the Devils game this past weekend. What was even worse – we ended up watching the Wiz.

    They should call the channel CSN- not +.

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    • I live in Wicomico County, and work in Dorchester County. I get CSN+ in both locoations and never have to miss a Caps game. Its absolutely ridiculous that Comcast provides CSN+ to the Eastern Shore, where the population is mostly lukewarm to hockey, and not to counties in the metro DC area.

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  13. Fios in AAco had channel 1 which had any sports conflict on there when needed. If no conflict then it was espn news. They did a channel “update” and took it away and moved all the single digit news channels higher.

    I have the NHL online subscription and when the Caps are on CSN it’s not online.

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  15. I live in Anne Arundel county and am sick to death of missing out on about half of the Caps games. Especially because they are one of the best teams in the league, which is more than I can say for some of the other DC teams.😉

    I appreciate the effort that you are putting into with this unfortunate sitation. Keep up the good work!

  16. I also live in Anne Arundel County and have been so extremely disappointed that I have missed out on seeing SO many Caps games this year! I called Verizon yesterday and got switched through several different people until someone finally said “maybe next year”. Meanwhile, there are many disgruntled Verizon customers out here who want to see our Caps THIS year. Hockey season is going to continue for many more months. Verizon should give us our Caps games we have had in past years and stop with the excuses.

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