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'Your' Blazers? I wonder, after TV contract announcement

Last week, the Portland Trail Blazers announced they’d reached an agreement with NBC Sports Group, which owns Comcast Sports Net Northwest, on a multi-year extension to continue broadcasting games in Portland and its surrounding markets.

What does that mean to you?

More of the same.

If you are a Comcast cable subscriber, it’s all good. For the last 10 years you’ve enjoyed watching Trail Blazer games on Comcast Sports Net Northwest (CSNNW), TNT, ESPN and the occasional game aired locally on KGW. But if you live beyond the reach of the “cable web” — as 45 percent of Portland and its surrounding areas does — or simply choose a potentially more economical option like satellite providers Direct TV or Dish Network, you’ve been and will continue to be on the losing end of a financial staring contest between the Trail Blazers, Comcast and the satellite providers looking for a deal.

Since selling the rights to Comcast a decade ago, much has been made of the lack of availability for rural customers living without the cable option. A considerable portion of the outlying areas of Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Gaston and Banks are dependent upon satellite providers for premium TV, leaving them without CSNNW and subsequently blacked-out from the bulk of Trail Blazer broadcasts.

For years now, the Trail Blazer franchise has spoken to a desire to remedy those inequities and maximize distribution. They’ve met every challenge with a steadfast proclamation to right the wrongs of a deal that turned its back on a faction of the fan base left with few options. But in spite of numerous reiterations of a desire to get this right, the Trail Blazers walked away from a potential deal with Root Sports (which is carried by both Dish Network and Direct TV) to re-up with Comcast and do away with the 20 games annually aired locally on KGW, which further frustrated fans on the outside looking in.

As a good friend of mine has been known to say: they’ve got the talking part down.

They’ll tell you this is about the fans, that they want to make this right and that they’ll continue to work toward getting the satellite providers on board. But they had 10 years to get that done, so what good is another four going to do?

I’m a Blazer fan, and I get the games on Comcast. But to the thousands of fanatics stoned by the organization’s latest deal, I feel your pain.

The Trail Blazers may be Portland’s team, but much of Oregon feels left out.

Wade Evanson is sports editor of the News-Times.