Comcast to take over FSN New England?

According to Keith Reed in the Globe today, Comcast is close to acquiring FSN New England and 60% of FSN Bay Area from Cablevision.

Apparently the move is at least in part a strategic move to give Comcast an upper hand against the increasing competition in the TV market, which has seen satellite TV becoming more popular and Verizon FiOS gaining a foothold in more markets.

Having the TV rights to all the Celtics games in the Boston market and partial rights to the Giants and A’s games and exclusive right to the Warriors and Sharks in the San Francisco/Oakland market, Comcast’s ownership of these networks would put them in a position of power. Comcast could force competitors to pay high fees for the rights to carry the networks, or as Reed points out, block them from carrying them altogether.

That seems a little heavy handed, and Comcast could face a nasty PR battle if they were to force people to change systems or pay very high fees in order to view their favorite teams. On the other hand, Comcast has made a lot of innovations in their service and generally people I’ve talked to are happy with their service. It might be a little on the pricey side, but they are always adding new things. This acquisition could be mean more OnDemand sports programming, there could be more HD programming on the FSN channels or other improvements.

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A bit of a nitpick with how certain sportsflashes are worded. All morning, Jon Wallach on WEEI’s Dale & Holley announced that “Daniel Graham will not re-sign with the Patriots and will become a free agent Friday.” The issue I have with that statement is that it should have been stated as “Daniel Graham will not re-sign with the Patriots before free agency opens on Friday.” Big difference. The first statement indicates that there is no chance that the tight end will be back with the team, when in reality, the Patriots could still sign him after he tests the market.

Graham has been rumored as a hot property around the league, with the Broncos, (Where his Dad played and he grew up) Bengals and Vikings among those teams said to be interested. It might be tough for the Patriots to retain his services.

But nothing is official. It is not set in stone that “Daniel Graham will not re-sign with the Patriots.”

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Wright Thompson of ESPN.com writes about how the entire Red Sox organization is attempting to ease the assimilation of Daisuke Matsuzaka to America.

The Bruins Insider and Bruins Blog from the Herald and Globe weigh in on the Bruins moves today before the trade deadline.

Following up his 10 best signings from yesterday, Mike Reiss today has the 10 worst signings of the Belichick/Pioli era.

Reiss also reports on the Patriots hiring of Bill O’Brien as an offensive assistant.

Albert Breer notes that the NFL Network reports that Rodney Harrison will be back in 2007.

Bill Simmons weighs in on Greg Oden.

Tom Verducci notes that in the afterword in the new paperback edition of Game of Shadows, authors Lance Williams and Mark Fainaru-Wada document Barry Bonds’ freakish growth late in his career.

Richard Sandomir examines how the league offices of various professional sports view YouTube these days.

Neil Best reports that Bill Parcells has reached a verbal agreement with ESPN.

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Tonight

7:00pm, ESPN – Michigan St @ Michigan (HD)
7:30pm, Versus – Stars @ Lightning
9:00pm, ESPN – Florida @ Tennessee (HD)

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