Saturday April 16 was slated to be nothing short of super for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia. With two teams in playoffs and two teams in the heat of regular-season action, the network was primed to produce more than 13 hours of live coverage on two networks, using 28 on-air personalities to cover four teams in four venues. When the weather turned ugly enough to rain out the Phillies game, however, things got really interesting.
“We had a plan in place, but we always have to be ready to adjust,” says Michelle Murray, VP of news programming for CSN Philly. “When we found out that the game was going to be postponed, we notified everybody tied to the Phillies production, the analysts, and pregame and postgame folks, that there was no game that day. For the rest of our coverage, we still needed to produce and prep for all the shows on our air that night.”
The rest of that coverage on Comcast SportsNet comprised Sixers’ NBA Playoffs pre- and post-game coverage, as well as Flyers’ NHL Playoffs pregame, Game 2 versus the Buffalo Sabres, and postgame coverage. For the Comcast Network, CSN Philly produced Union MLS pregame coverage, the Union game against the Seattle Sounders, and a Phillies Clubhouse show, in lieu of the rained-out Phillies game against the Florida Marlins.
“When we get the postseason schedules, that’s when the real fun begins,” Murray explains. “We sit down and take a look at who’s playing when and when we can schedule pregame and postgame shows. It is really a chance for us to take advantage of Comcast SportsNet as well as the Comcast Network. We have the opportunity to give sports fans a choice between our two networks. We don’t have to pick only one show to air.”
To ensure that sports fans in Philadelphia know exactly where to find what they’re looking for — whether that be Flyers, Sixers, Phillies, or Union coverage — CSN Philly’s promo department works overtime to get the word out via tickers, the network’s Website, and pregame, postgame, and news programming on both networks.
“When the Phillies game was postponed, we immediately got that information out on the air, on our Website, on Comcast SportsNet, during the Flyers coverage, Sixers coverage, and even the Union game,” Murray says. “We get the word out often. And our team partners are also great about making sure that their fans have all the information.”
In the 30 days of the month of April, CSN Philly will produce and air 42 games, in addition to pre- and post-game coverage. To get through that deluge of content, Murray says, she relies on an incredible production team. CSN Philly’s team proved its mettle on Saturday.
“Saturday was an unbelievably great day for us,” she says. “We were firing on all cylinders. Communication was great internally as well as externally. Everybody understands that the postseason is exciting and hectic, but it’s a great kind of organized chaos. Our goal is to always provide Philly sports fans with the best coverage of every story on-air as well as online, and these times in the postseason are just that much more exciting for us.”