Comcast SportsNet will no longer partner with Ravens

As Comcast SportsNet shifts focus, Ravens look elsewhere

CSN Mid-Atlantic, an important Ravens outlet since 2010, will no longer carry the team's preseason games or weekly in-season programs.

The end of the relationship with the former Comcast SportsNet has left the Ravens looking for a new television partner — a search the team says already is well underway.

"Comcast SportsNet has changed the focus of its programming to concentrate on the Washington market," Ravens President Dick Cass said in an interview on Thursday. "We will continue to have a strong TV presence in that market, which will include an airing of preseason games and weekly television shows, and we expect to announce a new partnership in the near future."

Available in Baltimore and Washington, CSN, part of NBC Sports Group, helped the Ravens reach and cultivate their core Baltimore base as well as Marylanders living in Washington's television market but still near enough to Baltimore to be Ravens fans.

The network's programming included preseason games and three programs — Ravens Wired, Ravens Report and Unscripted — geared towards features and analysis. The shows and preseason games also appear on WBAL-TV, which is continuing its arrangement with the team, and in Washington on WJLA-TV.

"Some of the people who live in that (Washington) market are as close as 20 miles to the stadium," Cass said. "We have a lot of fans in Frederick County, for example, which is part of the Washington TV market but at the same time is part of the Ravens' exclusive marketing territory."

Regular-season Ravens games won't be affected by the shift. Those games are carried on national networks under contracts with the NFL.

Cass declined to speculate on who the club's next television partner might be.

The Ravens had partnered with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network between 2006 and 2010. A spokesman for the Orioles, which hold a majority stake in MASN, had no immediate comment on whether the network could again end up with Ravens' programming.

A year after signing on with CSN, the Ravens announced the network was significantly increasing its coverage of the team. CSN called itself "the Official Sports Network of the Ravens."

Now, CSN is shifting its coverage. The Bethesda-based network also is discontinuing its day-to-day "insider" coverage of the Orioles and Washington Nationals baseball teams and is focusing more on the Washington teams — the NBA's Wizards and NHL's Capitals — with which it has exclusive regional broadcasting deals.

"CSN Mid-Atlantic's media rights agreement with the Baltimore Ravens will not be renewed," a Comcast SportsNet spokesman said Thursday in a written statement. "CSN and the team enjoyed a great relationship, but the partnership no longer aligns with the network's business strategy. CSN values the Baltimore market and looks forward to continuing to provide the region's fans with exclusive sports coverage, including Ravens news, analysis and opinion."

CSN has also undergone other changes. In October, Ted Leonsis's Monumental Sports & Entertainment announced it was becoming an equity partner in the network. Monumental owns the Wizards, the Capitals, Washington's Verizon Center and a new Arena Football League franchise in Washington.

Monumental also owns Baltimore's new Arena Football League team — its name, colors and logo are to be announced next week — and plans to court Baltimore fans with a product it says will be affordable, perhaps as inexpensive as $10 per ticket. Monumental also owns the subscription-based Monumental Sports Network, which streams online the WNBA's Washington Mystics, the American Hockey League's Hershey Bears and other teams and will show the Arena Football games.

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