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Why can't I watch Caps preseason games on TV?

By Ryan Cooper

So last night, instead of showing the Capitals/Blue Jackets preseason game, CSN DC is showing a Chelsea/MSK Zilina UEFA Champions League match.  One part of me says, “Ok, Chelsea’s pretty good, I can understand that.” Then I realized that the match took place on September 15th.  That’s right.  September 15th.  Instead of showing last night’s Caps preseason game, CSN DC showed  a soccer match that was over a week old (hate to spoil it for you, but I bet Chelsea still won 4-1).

Hey, at least on September 28th, when the Caps are playing the Bruins, I can watch The Ralph Friedgen Coach’s Show, followed by a replay of a Maryland/FIU football game that I’m sure will be so well played and fun to watch it will make the Ice Bowl look like a Maryland/FIU game.  And how about on September 29th, when instead of the Caps and Bruins, I can watch a replay of the Virginia/VMI football game!  UVA + VMI = OMG!

I’m starting to understand the reasons Lisa Hillary left for CSN Philly.  THEY covered the Flyers/Devils game a few nights ago.  CSN Chicago is covering a Blackhawks/Lightning game from WINNIPEG. Yet, CSN DC isn’t covering any Caps preseason games, and I have no idea why.

I’m fairly certain that CSN shows every single Redskins preseason game (just watch the network for five minutes, they’ll tell you themselves). If people wonder why hockey isn’t popular here, this is exactly why. 

We have dedicated fans that WANT to watch the Capitals, who not only are doing better than pretty much every other team in the city, but are more exciting to watch than LaRon Landry running around the football field like my cat when he’s fired up on catnip (and getting about the same things accomplished).

Give us a break CSN.  We haven’t watched a live Capitals game on TV since Game 7 last April. The Capitals web feed being out of service is about as reliable as the Ravens complaining about officiating after a football game that they swear they could have won.  Is it about announcers? I know Joe B. is busy with Versus, but what about Al Koken?  He does everything. I’m sure Craig Laughlin isn’t running his hockey school 24 hours a day.

Maybe Craig should just start commentating on week-old soccer matches and throw in the name “HAYNESWORTH” from time to time.  I bet that would get him on CSN more often.

By Box Seats blogger  | September 23, 2010; 9:28 AM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Ryan Cooper  | Tags:  Capitals  
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I agree, it sucked last night. First game after such an unwanted long summer break and what do I get poor audio on my computer. CSN needs to step up to the plate quick

Posted by: bqts | September 23, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty poor. This past offseason you could watch the Wizards SUMMER LEAGUE games, but not the Caps official preseason games?

No offense to Cartier Martin, but here's a memo CSN: I would rather watch Alexander Semin get 3 assists in a Caps' 6-2 victory and showcase some of the younger talent that is coming up for 2010-2011.

Posted by: RoyHobbs4 | September 23, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

It bugs the hell out of me that this is still the case. What do the Caps need to do to get some respect in this town? Sell out every game? Oh, check. Increase their ratings yearly? Oh, check. Hell, even HBO recognized their value and is doing a documentary mini-series on the team leading up to the winter classic.

I guess we really do need to win a Cup before the mainstream media in DC will pay attention. Heres to 2010-2011.

Posted by: hubcop84 | September 23, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

Pathetic programming choices for sure. I tried to listen to the game but I could not get that to work on the Caps web site.

I was happy when I found out Lisa Hillary left town. The only thing that got her in the door was her looks which did not appeal to me but I can see producers thinking she was some sort of "eye candy" She always asked redundant, boring and amatureish questions, particularly during post-game interviews.

Posted by: Riddler1 | September 23, 2010 11:09 AM | Report abuse

My wife will be glad to hear Lisa Hillary is gone. I don't care either way. But I hate the fact that the Caps preseason is NEVER TELEVISED!
I remember back in 89 or 90, the Caps went on a tour through the former Soviet Union...and THOSE GAMES WERE ON TV!!! WTF?!
I'm not sure why CSN doesn't put the games on. Their are plenty of out of work hockey announcers that could call the game. They would sell advertising spots for more than a soccer game would command (sorry soccer fans), and now that the team is really starting to reap the rewards of great drafting and building from within, so many of us really want to see how Braden Holtby and Andrew Gordon are maturing. We want to see if this is the year Matt Perrealt or Marcus Johnasson is ready to make the big leap.
Who can we talk to about this? I'm going to talk to Uncle Ted. He'll make it right.

Posted by: jmurray019 | September 23, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

NHL Network is showing 35 preseason games this year...NONE of them ours. Thanks for nothing, CSN. -JW

Posted by: JWJr | September 23, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I think that because its under the post banner even outsider blogs like this should be held to some sort of standard. Anyone can rant. Did you ask Ted about TV coverage of preseason games?

I think most caps fans "turn on" in December or January. I doubt there is a groundswell of demand. You have it exactly backwards. Caps fans always think coverage dictates fandom. If there were enough fans it would be covered.

Did you see the ratings that the redskins preseason games got? Answers the question why that gets covered.

If I recall correctly, the footage for the NBA summer league was provided by the NBA. Play by play voice over was done locally. So it was a very cheap thing to provide. There was a lot of interest in seeing John Wall. Whether or not Alzner will be a top 4 defenseman just doesnt' get the same pop.

Posted by: boywaja | September 23, 2010 11:56 AM | Report abuse

This is typical CSN... Comcrap sports not. They had listed, every Redskin preseason game and showed none... they even had replays shown and still didn't show the game. We need a new sports channel that will show what we want to see.

Posted by: curb1 | September 23, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

This is typical CSN... Comcrap sports not. They had listed, every Redskin preseason game and showed none... they even had replays shown and still didn't show the game. We need a new sports channel that will show what we want to see.

Posted by: curb1 | September 23, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

I already wrote an angry email to comcast a few days ago. Although if you think Comcast needs to hear from you too, this is the address:

don't attempt to use their capitals email address listed on their contact page. I get a bounce back from it. yeah...they care...

I'm going to boycott their advertisers. I hate you CSN!!!

Posted by: PonMan | September 23, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse


I sent Uncle Ted an email and am waiting for a response. You, however, are the one who has it wrong.
CSN needs to understand that the more they put the Caps on TV during the preseason, the more buzz it will create. This is a Redskins town for sure, but this town loves a winner more than anything. The Caps are the best team in town. You don't think a Caps preseason game wouldn't draw fair to okay ratings? Whatever, dude.

There are the casual Caps fans that tune in around the first of the year, but there is also a large contingent that salivate for anything Caps. Your arguement doesn't hold up, considering that MASN shows Nats Spring Training Games. I'm fairly certain that the Caps preseason contests would draw more than a Nats regular season game at this point. That would provide CSN a chance to beat the competition. Not sure why they wouldnt want that.
Do you agree?

Posted by: jmurray019 | September 23, 2010 12:07 PM | Report abuse

hard to complain about all reg. season games being on tv (and apparently HD).

so, not a fan of ranting/whining.

but, yes, i agree, would nice to see pre-season games on TV.

Posted by: CF11555 | September 23, 2010 12:12 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the article, I agree totally, why are the preseason games not on? Count me as one more person who would tune in.

Posted by: timmy10 | September 23, 2010 12:20 PM | Report abuse

not a fan of the whining, but it is good to know there is demand for Caps pre-season games on TV

Posted by: CF11555 | September 23, 2010 12:23 PM | Report abuse

Hey, once the Caps win the Cup this year, CSN will be compelled to show the preseason games! I can't wait!

Posted by: jasonweissman | September 23, 2010 12:41 PM | Report abuse

Nice post. It's obvious you get it, even as it is obvious that the "powers"-that-be here at CSN DC do not.

I don't know if CSN-Bay Area (the only other CSN I'm aware of that has a local NHL team) is doing Sharks preseason games, but if so, DC would be the only CSN market left in (out of) the cold, if you will pardon my bad pun.

Heck (with apologies to Old Chelsea) I bet CSN DC would have had more viewers to the HAWKS game (probably could have been picked up for free from CSN-Chicago) last night than they got to the 2- week old soccer matchup they showed last night!

Doesn't make financial sense to me, but I'm just a viewer I guess

Posted by: capsfan36 | September 23, 2010 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Notice how none of the road games are on TV even the home teams local network, which is one of the reasons when NHL Network has none of our games. For those who think that the preseason games will get good ratings go look at the ratings from when CSN and NHL network played the Bears finals series. They were horrible and they had Nuvey, Alzner, Carlson, and some of the others that will be trying to make the team.

Posted by: icehammer97 | September 23, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

I would love to watch the preseason games on tv but alas... I can (kind of) understand that home games wouldn't be shown to try and drive fans to the arena but I'm not going to Columbus for my hockey fix.
I once saw a show that was a replay of an English Premiere League game that had one fan from each team as the announcers, what a blast that was, maybe CSN could do that if they don't want to pay pro announcers for pre-season games.

Posted by: ds_kelly | September 23, 2010 12:51 PM | Report abuse

Hello McFly?

CSN shows the games when they can make money. It costs the same to them to show a caps pre-season game as it does a caps playoff game. They make much more money in ADVERTISING on a caps playoff game than the do a pre-season game. Heck they probably make more on a skins pre-season game than they do on a regular season caps game.

People! it's pre-season!! you have 90 or more games ahead of you!!!

Posted by: cazador1 | September 23, 2010 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Well, at a current pace, it'll take 2 more years before we get pre-season hockey on Comcast. I base this on all the beating down the door of getting the Bears Calder Cup games on Comcast and after 3 cup runs, all the stars aligned and games 3-7 were on this past summer. Definitely not like they have any live games to show during the week.

Posted by: BBDwrestling | September 23, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I agree with the post, kind of silly that the best team in Washington right now can't get airtime for preseason. We all recognize it is JUST preseason but if the Caps are the most exciting team in DC (not just saying that as a hockey fan, but really, they were the only team that made the playoffs!) they should have some recognition through the airing of their games. There was still a hat trick even without ovie on the ice, says something about our team and it would get the word out there even more. I was definitely disappointed but listening to the game kind of made me appreciate the absence of hockey even more!

Posted by: dorie78 | September 23, 2010 1:31 PM | Report abuse

Hey are forgetting..CSN is a COMCAST Network...which is all PHILLY FLYERS...they don't give a rats but about the Caps.

I hate the Flyers, Eagles and everything about Philadelphia (and Pittsburgh too)!

Posted by: SoaringCaps | September 23, 2010 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Would have love to watch the game last night but it is no surprise. Caps preseason games have never been televised as long as I can remember. It would be nice but CSN seems to have no interest in it. Maybe the Caps can work something out where another network can show the preseason games.

Posted by: madflava | September 23, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

They don't even need Craig or Al. Just show the game and let people listen to the sounds of the game.

Thankfully I'm going to the Boston game next week...

Posted by: sabredc | September 23, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

To the commenter that stated that the Skins' preseason games got great ratings and that is why the games were broadcast. Yes that is correct. But that has not always been the case.

In the early 1970s when the Skins made the playoffs for the second year in a row under Coach George Allen, the Skins could not even sell out RFK for the first playoff game against the Packers and so the game was subject to a black-out in the DC area. With success under Allen and subsequently under Gibbs, the media coverage of the Skins increased year-over-year, which in turn increased year-over-year local interest in the Skins to the point that it practically became a second religion for many people in the DC area. That in turn prompted the media to cover the Skins even more. Each facet fed off the other. As a result today the TV and print media saturation of the Skins is overwhelming to the point that the Skins are omnipresent. (It is somewhat akin to a company saturating a market with ads and promotions of a product that increase interest and sales). This has lead to the Skins becoming the "IT" in the DC area which tends to lead to gaining the interest of even generally non-sports fans.

At this juncture, the Caps are basically where the Skins were in the early 1970s, where recent success has resulted in consistent sellouts during the regular season and the playoffs. If the Caps continue to have success on the ice, fan interest and media coverage should increase year-over-year, and that day may yet come when Caps preseason games are broadcast - perhaps not until Monumental acquires the local broadcast rights of the Caps and Wizards and its own cable channels from which to broadcast games. While I don't foresee the Caps ever becoming practically a religion in this town like the Skins are - mainly because the NHL will never gain the popularity that the NFL has in the U.S. - they can achieve much greater levels of local interest and popularity, particularly if the media coverage increases.

Posted by: Monty2 | September 23, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse


Caps fans are plentiful and we start watching hockey as soon as the training camp pucks drop! If you think that there aren't a lot of Caps fans that want to see every game you are sadly mistaken. Oh and as for ratings, I know Caps games that get better ratings then some tv shows that are still on the air!

Posted by: ags38 | September 24, 2010 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure CSN has their reasons for not televising Caps preseason games.
However, I'd like to hear a reason why the Caps organization didn't bother to broadcast the video over an Internet feed.
Makes no sense.

Posted by: Wiley_One1 | September 24, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Skins have more commercial backing...i mean its only like 12 commercials per minute of ACTUAL gameplay in football(don't get me wrong though i do like the sport but not nearly as much as hockey).

Caps did try to broadcast the CBJ/WSH preseason game but for whatever reason the guy who used to own one of the largest internet services around couldn't get the feed to work.

Posted by: breaklance | September 24, 2010 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Re: people start watching the Caps at the beginning of the year? Yes. Ever noticed that that timeframe coincides with when the Redskins stop playing? They might actually start watching later if the Redskins ever make the postseason, which occurrence is in some doubt :)

That said - yeah, they televise what makes money, but I find it hard to believe that Comcast gets better ratings for a third-rerun UEFA Champions game. Perhaps it's a question of paying a filming crew to get their humps out to Columbus and do something worthwhile.

Posted by: kittypawz | September 24, 2010 2:27 PM | Report abuse

If they wanted to they could do the same thing they do with season ticket holders. When selling ad space for Caps regular season games (which are more valuable now with more in HD) the commercial space packages should automatically contain preseason games too.

As one of the posters above has noted it costs CSN the same to produce preseason and regular season games - but they probably haven't sold ads for the preseason and are caught off guard with the demand.

The franchise broadcast rights will never be worth as much as it is right now - the advertisers are probably lining up for the season and would understand a higher rate even if it included fringe preseason games.

Thats the way it should work and I can guarantee it does in Philly, Toronto and everywhere else where all the games are on.

Posted by: yesisaiditfirst | September 25, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

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