Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Jim Williams: We still want our Nats TV
Jim Williams, The Examiner
Apr 4, 2006 7:00 AM (47 mins ago)
WASHINGTON -


It has been a year since the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network began to produce Nationals telecasts and most of greater Washington, D.C.’s fan base is still without their Nats TV.
This Friday on Capitol Hill, the House Committee on Government Reform will hold a hearing with the
aim of getting Comcast and MASN to strike a deal and air Nationals games in the best interest of the fans.

I applaud the work of Virginia congressmen Tom Davis and Jim Moran for their bi-partisan work on
behalf of the Nationals. This could be a test case as Congress is about to open up the TV landscape
to the likes of Verizon and others who want to offer TV to their customers. That presents major
competition issues for Comcast, Cox and other top cable companies.

Congress can’t force Comcast and MASN to get along, make a deal or even talk. Yes, political hype
and being called to the ultimate principal’s office can be effective. But it does not guarantee success.
So who could really make these two sides work together?

As I have said a number of times this is a local issue. The city of Washington and its suburbs grant
cable companies a franchise. In these agreements, the devil is in the details. The fine print can force
any cable company, in this case Comcast, to serve “the best interests of the community.”
Mayor Anthony Williams and the members of the D.C. city council have seen fit to approve a $611
million deal to build a brand new stadium. They should be congratulated for their wonderful efforts
on behalf of the city and baseball fans all over the region.
Almost every council member said they supported baseball in D.C. even if they didn’t support the
stadium.
This issue is all about the fans and promoting Washington on TV throughout the region. It does
not cost the city a penny to fight for the fans.
So Mayor Williams, Council Chairman Linda Cropp or any of the members of city council, let’s
finish this up and bring Comcast to the Wilson Building. Make sure they do the right thing for boththe city and the fans.
Show the games.

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