Chicken Friars had a chance to interview Fox Sports vice president of communications Chris Bellitii. We discussed Fox Sports’ current situation with Tim Warner, AT&T and DirecTV.
Chicken Friars: What is the latest (if any) on the Fox Sports San Diego, Time Warner and AT&T U-Verse situation?
Chris Bellitti: Time Warner Cable walked away from negotiations months ago. They have rejected every proposal we have put before them, and they seem to have no interest in offering Padres games this season and beyond. We’re a bit more optimistic regarding AT&T; discussions are ongoing with them.
CF: When was the last time FSSD spoke with representatives from either Time Warner or AT&T?
Chris Bellitti: Unfortunately, there hasn’t been meaningful conversations with Time Warner Cable about FS San Diego since April. They have rejected all our proposals.
CF: So as of right now, has FSSD and Time Warner been negotiating or are negotiations still at an impasse? what about with AT&T U-verse?
Chris Bellitti: We stand ready to negotiate to get this situation resolved, but it takes two willing parties. Time Warner Cable needs to re-engage with us to get a deal done.
CF: Is the biggest issue in negotiations with Time Warner still the fact that they want what they consider a “fair rate”? What is the biggest issue of negotiations with AT&T U-verse? Does AT&T U-verse want what they deem a “fair rate as well”
Chris Bellitti: It’s very simple—we have offered Time Warner Cable the same fair rate that DIRECTV and Cox agreed to months ago. In light of that, it’s hard to understand Time Warner Cable’s refusal to offer the Padres to their customers.
Since we’re in active discussions with AT&T, I can’t comment about specifics, but hopefully we can reach an agreement sooner rather than later.
CF: When was the last proposal made to Time Warner and AT&T? what did the proposal entail?
Chris Bellitti: We’re not allowed to discuss the details of our proposals publicly, but the simple truth is this can be resolved if Time Warner Cable comes back to the negotiating table. We reached agreements with DIRECTV and Cox before Opening Day. That proves it’s possible to resolve this without putting the fans in the middle.
CF: What was the rate that Cox Communications and DirecTV agreed to?
Chris Bellitti: See above. But we offered Time Warner Cable the same rate. We’re not asking for a penny more.
CF: Is there any truth to the claim that FSSD wants a 400 percent increase?
Chris Bellitti: Not true. FOX Sports San Diego is a new 24/7 local sports network featuring more than 150 Padres games and more than 300 pro and collegiate events. We have reached agreements with DIRECTV and Cox. The price is very fair.
CF: Customers of Time Warner have sent me tweets and e-mails asking me to ask you this question: What else can customers of Time Warner and AT&T U-verse do other than to contact there service provider? It appears they have contacted their service provider but have had little success.
Chris Bellitti: Years ago, MTV ran the famous “I Want My MTV” ad campaign. The principal is the same here. We encourage you to keep the pressure on Time Warner Cable and demand that they carry FOX Sports San Diego and Padres telecasts immediately.
CF: What’s the latest with Fox Sports en Espanol?
Chris Bellitti: We’re proud to offer 50 Padres games in Spanish on Fox Deportes San Diego (FDSD). The games are available on Channel 68 on Cox, or 406 in Cox’s Latino Pak. In coming seasons, the number of games produced in Spanish will increase.
CF: Will Fox Sports en Espanol be available for all service providers that carry Fox Sports San Diego or will they have to negotiate as well?
Chris Bellitti: It’s available to all video providers at no additional cost.
CF: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Chris Bellitti: Yes. We know that Padres fans who cannot watch the games on TV are very frustrated. We’re frustrated as well. We reached agreements with DIRECTV and Cox long before the season began. Time Warner Cable’s refusal to offer Padres games to their customers is puzzling—especially in light of their spending on sports in Los Angeles. Time Warner Cable is launching two Lakers channels, paid millions for the LA Galaxy TV rights, and is launching up to seven new Pac-12 channels. They also publicly expressed an interest in acquiring the Dodgers TV rights. We simply want them to value the Padres and San Diego sports like they value sports in Los Angeles and other markets.