Some Xfinity customers lose ROOT SPORTS on eve of Kraken, Blazers seasons

Oct 10, 2023, 6:25 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2023, 10:14 am

From left, Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz, defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and goaltender Philipp G...

From left, Seattle Kraken center Jaden Schwartz, defenseman Jamie Oleksiak and goaltender Philipp Grubauer celebrate after the Kraken defeated the Colorado Avalanche in the first round of the NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs on April 30 in Denver. (Photo: David Zalubowski, AP

On the day the NHL’s Seattle Kraken kick off their 2023-24 season and a couple of weeks before the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers tip off their new season some Xfinity customers received word Tuesday they will have to pay more money per month to watch their favorite teams’ games.

Xfinity, which is part of media and technology giant Comcast, sent an email to some customers telling them ROOT SPORTS has moved to a different TV package and, therefore, the company has “removed this channel from your current package,” noting that “Regional Sports Networks (RSN) like ROOT SPORTS drive significant expense for our customers.”

ROOT SPORTS confirmed on X, formerly known as Twitter, Tuesday afternoon that ROOT SPORTS has moved to Xfinity’s Ultimate package. Previously, it was part of the Popular TV package. In an earlier post on X, the company suggested customers contact their provider for assistance. The company turned off replies to both X posts.

“We are disappointed that Xfinity has moved (ROOT SPORTS) to the Ultimate package,” a statement ROOT SPORTS put out Tuesday stated, according to The Seattle Times. “The timing is less than ideal as the Kraken and Trail Blazers are heading into the regular season, and we feel for the teams and their fans.”

In addition to airing Kraken and Trail Blazers games, ROOT SPORTS airs most Seattle Mariners games. The company also bills itself as “the television home of the … Seattle Seahawks, Portland Timbers (Major League Soccer), Seattle Seawolves (Major League Rugby) and Gonzaga Bulldogs.” ROOT SPORTS also notes on its website it “delivers more than 400 live events each year across a five-state footprint.” The Mariners own a majority stake in ROOT SPORTS, with AT&T SportsNet remaining a minority stakeholder.

The Mariners and Kraken both released statements about the change, according to The Times.

“The Seattle Mariners are disappointed that Xfinity has moved (ROOT SPORTS) into a package that is more expensive and less accessible to fans,” Mariners senior vice president of marketing Kevin Martinez said in a release, according to the outlet. “Xfinity is the largest television provider in the Pacific Northwest, and their decision makes it harder for those who live here to watch their favorite teams.”

“The sports broadcasting landscape is experiencing significant change,” Kraken president Victor de Bonis said in a release, The Times reported. “We want our games to be available to as many fans as possible, especially as we drop the puck for our third season today.”

In a statement to MyNorthwest, Comcast said that they are, “happy to continue offering Root Sports Northwest to our customers and making it available on a package that includes the most sports content. We’ll also be providing credits to our customers on our digital basic package who do not receive the network.”

Looking at Xfinity costs

In its email to customers, Xfinity said it will reduce those customers’ RSN fee and a credit will appear on their monthly bill. One Western Washington user provided a copy of the email to MyNorthwest and it said Xfinity would be providing a monthly credit of $8.95. A user in Oregon reposted his email from Xfinity on X and it read the monthly credit would be $6.60.

However, for customers to get ROOT SPORTS back on their TVs, they will likely have to pay more than the credit that is being applied to their accounts.

According to a recent inquiry with Xfinity’s online plan builder, new customers getting home service can expect to pay $50 per month plus fees for the Popular TV package and $68.50 per month plus fees for the Ultimate TV package. Customers in different areas who choose different packages and various add-ons can expect to pay different prices. Other sports channels users who have the Ultimate TV package have access to include the MLB Network, NFL Network, NHL Network, NBA TV, ESPNEWS, ESPNU and CBS Sports Network.

Image: A screenshot of a letter from Xfinity to some customers about losing ROOT SPORTS from their cable package.

A screenshot of a letter from Xfinity to some customers about losing ROOT SPORTS from their cable package. (Image courtesy of Brent Stecker, Seattle Sports)

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Some Xfinity customers lose ROOT SPORTS on eve of Kraken, Blazers seasons