Full Disclosure: The following took place on the same day that I received a letter from Comcast telling me that they were increasing my cable rate. Sorry, that’s not technically true. What it said was that if I wanted to retain my current sports channels I would need to subscribe to a different “package,” a package that just happens to be more expensive. This may have made me less that objective about what follows…
Last night, at promptly 7:30pm, I tuned my television to Comcast Sports Net New England expecting to watch the Revolution’s match against the Chicago Fire. Instead I found myself watching the Celtics playing the Knicks in a preseason game. It irked me that the match had been “bumped” by a preseason Celtics game, but fair enough. A quick trip to my laptop and I found out what “alternate” channel would be showing the match, at which point I was greeted by a test pattern like the one above- for the next 60+ minutes (or the entire 90 minutes for some viewers). When the picture and sound eventually returned during the second half it sometimes froze, sometimes dropped out, and was always of 1950s home movie quality.
Things like this happen. Frankly, with all of the various forms of technology that are interwoven through our daily lives it’s surprising that things like this don’t happen more often. The “problem” is not what bothered me, but rather, the way in which it was handled. Or “not handled” in this case. The Revolution eventually acknowledged via Facebook and Twitter that they were aware of the problem, that they had notified Comcast, and that Comcast was “working to correct the problem.”
And that was it.
No statement from Comcast/CSNNE.
No explanation of why subscribers to MLS’s “Direct Kick” could see the match just fine.
No apologies from anyone.
Today if one checks the websites of any of the entities involved it is as though nothing ever happened: no acknowledgement whatsoever and certainly no apologies.
Again, I don’t blame the Revolution for the problem. They contracted with Comcast/CSNNE to have the game broadcast and clearly things were working at Gillette Stadium because the match was fine on Direct Kick. What I do blame them for is their response. A response that, when you get right down to it, consisted of pointing a virtual finger at Comcast and walking away. That’s poor. It’s especially poor when the club in question has, over the course of the past two years, fired a beloved coach, traded away the team’s captain, and put together back-to-back dismal seasons. In short, even among supporters, goodwill towards this club is in short supply at the moment and the worst move the club could have made was to look less than concerned about its fans. But, being the New England Revolution, that’s exactly what they did.
Did I mention that it was “Fan Appreciation Night” at Gillette Stadium?
As for the way Comcast/CSNNE handled/didn’t handle the situation, well, nothing shocking there. Any grown-up knows that the motto of each and every cable company is, “Do the bare minimum, charge the maximum amount possible, treat the customer as poorly as possible and expect them to be thankful for it.”
I’m sure it sounds better in Latin.
Anyway, the Revolution won through a goal from 7th grader midfielder Diego Fagundez, and in the end the Revolution will have had a “better” season in 2012 than they did in 2011.
Why does it feel worse?