PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers have reached an agreement on an extension with Comcast SportsNet Northwest that will keep the TV broadcast rights to Blazers games with CSN, the team announced Wednesday.
KGW will continue to share regional broadcast rights with CSN during the 2016-17 season.
CSN Northwest has been the Blazers' TV media partner since the two agreed to a 10-year contract in 2007. The contract has frustrated Blazers fans who have DirecTV or Dish Network, since NBC Sports Group, which owns CSN, has not been able to reach agreements on national distribution rights for the channel with either of the major satellite TV channels.
Only Blazers fans with Comcast have been able to watch all Blazers games on TV for the past 10 years.
According to a report by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, the Blazers' new contract with CSN, which has been reported as a four-year extension, includes terms that "incentivizes CSN to expand its distribution."
In addition, Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan has expressed confidence in new NBC Sports Group President of NBC Sports Regional Networks, who has a strong background in negotiating distribution rights agreements.
"With the addition of David Preschlack at NBC Sports Group and his background in distribution, we're very motivated to collaborate on ways to bring even greater access to our fans," McGowan said.
The new contract designates CSN as the "exclusive media partner" of the team beginning in the 2017-18 season, meaning CSN will have broadcast rights to all Blazers games not aired on national television. This also means, according to a news release from the team, that no games will air on KGW after the 2016-17 season.
Also, the shorter terms of this contract (reported to be four years instead of 10) allows the Trail Blazers to study the TV landscape, which has been evolving at a rapid pace, and evaluate their options sooner than they were able to under the former contract.
CSN Northwest has increased its distribution reach over the past few years. It has long-standing carriage agreements with XFINITY, Frontier and Wave, and has added agreements with Charter Communications, CenturyLink Prism and Sony Vue. Sony Vue is accessible through PlayStation devices, Amazon Fire, Google Chromecast and Roku.
"I understand that there is a long history and there is a sense of frustration," Preschlack told The Oregonian. "I think we've improved distribution of the network over the last three years in a meaningful way. And we're committed now as much as we've ever been ... to get as much distribution as possible."