12 August 2007

Miffed about the Magic's move to Fox Sports Net? Tell Bright House About It.

A few days ago, the Magic announced that they would cease using their own in-house broadcast team for next season and instead, in effect, outsource 35 of their broadcasts to Fox Sports Net. The problem? FSN is not available for free to Bright House customers. Since Bright House has monopolized the Central Florida area, Magic fans are essentially being held hostage. The Magic's V.P. of communications, Joel Glass, covered the team's rear-end by telling the Sentinel's Tim Povtak "We're hopeful that Bright House and FSN/Sun Sports will come to an amicable resolution and continue to provide the best coverage for our fans."

Yesterday, the Sentinel featured this story, also by Povtak, on the front page of its sports section. From that story came some rather appalling news:

The Orlando Magic will be the only team in the NBA this season televising its games on a pay-extra format if cable-provider Bright House Networks is successful in negotiating Fox Sports into its digital sports pack.
I'm not here to complain to you about how much this news sucks for Magic fans. Instead, I'm passing along a way for them to express their displeasure to Bright House itself. The poster Magic Madness, who runs the Magic Madness forums, posted a link to this customer care page. After filling in your information, select "Ordering Services/Pricing Questions" from the SUBJECT drop-down menu, then select "Programming/Channel Request" from the CATEGORY drop-down menu. Once that's done, you can write your message to the cable company in the provided box. If there's a character limit, I didn't surpass it.

For what it's worth, here's what I wrote:
To whom it may concern:

I am one of many Orlando Magic fans currently living in a Bright House home. Recently, the Magic awarded 35 of next season's 82 games to Fox Sports Net, a channel that many viewers across Orlando cannot get without upgrading to a special package. I am writing to urge Bright House to speed along negotiations with the parties involved to make sure that the Magic fans in Orlando have a chance to see their team play this season.

It's not as if the Magic are a bad team; although they were disappointing last season, they added the best free-agent player available, Rashard Lewis, and figure to be much more competitive this season. Support for the Magic should grow as the team gets ready to enter its new arena in the coming seasons, but they can't do it without the support of the cable companies who are in charge of reaching the largest possible audience.

Please do everything you can to make the Magic visible. By agreeing to help pay for a new arena, they've shown their commitment to the city. Please do your part in showing your commitment to them by working out an agreement with Fox Sports Net.

Ben Q. Rock
Writing these letters may not change the outcome of the situation, but it gives us the satisfaction of knowing we did our part to help the Magic reach the widest possible audience.

And for the record, I used my real name in the letter I sent to Bright House.

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