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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

A Grip on Sports: There is always someone ready to stick their hand deeper into your wallet, espcially when it comes to cable bills

A GRIP ON SPORTS • One thing about being an adult. Bills are always due. The bare necessities of life cost money. More each day, it seems. Luxuries too. So it doesn’t matter into which category you slot watching Kraken and Mariner games.


• Full disclosure: The subject of this column doesn’t impact our family at all. Watching sports is not a bare – or bear, as Ballo once sung about so eloquently – necessity around these parts. It is as important as any of the major groups like food, housing, heat, clothes … no, wait. It’s probably more important than clothes. We could get by with a couple rags. And do.

But not without our M’s. Or other sports. That’s why we pay an exorbitant amount for the top-of-the-line sports tier. However, we understand we are an exception. And most people just want to buy what they really need – or can afford.

Which is why Comcast’s announcement in the Seattle area the company is moving Root – the Mariner-owned regional TV network that broadcasts, among other things, the baseball and hockey teams’ games – to a more expensive tier is causing outrage in some quarters.

It’s not like the city is doubling the street parking rates or Starbucks is quadrupling the price of a quad shot. But, actually, those items hit with less ferocity. Even in Seattle. Mainly because you can always walk or buy your caffeine at McDonald’s or something.

If you want to watch the Kraken pay a lackadaisical opener in Vegas, and want cable in your home, you are stuck with Root.

Oops, bad example.

OK, if you want to watch the M’s try to overcome another Jerry Dipoto closer-to-a-contender trade next July, you will have to access Root. There is no other way. And to get it in a household with cable in the Seattle area (and more than likely beyond), you probably have to go through Xfinity.

Talk about being tone-deaf to the buzz.

Northwest sports fans are dealing with a lot of negative news these days. Even sports fans in this area. For every UW or WSU or Oregon or Oregon State win, there is another price hike. For every Seahawk positive, there is an issue with carriage rights. (By the way, we’ve been out of town for a week. Has Fox-28 returned to Spokane’s Comcast lineup yet? No. Great.)

It’s tiresome. It’s getting old. And it’s driving people away.

It’s almost as if cable is stuck in a downward spiral that even the excitement of live sports can’t fix.

The formula has played out for years. Cord-cutters slash at the companies’ bottom line. To raise profits, the companies cut some services and raise prices. That forces more people to cut the cord. The companies raises more prices. More people leave. More service cuts and price hikes. You see where this is going, right?

 At some point streaming services are all going to be sold to Elon Musk and he’s going to run them into the ground. Problem solved.

Wait, that’s not it. That’s social media.

In this case, folks like us, who enjoy the ease of cable, especially as it relates to watching our favorite teams, will be asked to pay more and more as the subscriber base shrinks.

There is going to be a last straw eventually. Probably the summer the M’s turn the corner and, you know, actually spend money, buy at the deadline and go on to the win the World Series.

We’ll pay whatever the cable company demands to see that. And, knowing our luck, will find out in October said provider and Fox or TBS or ESPN are in a spat and we can’t watch the playoffs at home.

And then we will be out in our hip, cord-cut neighbor’s bushes with binoculars, like that annoying Josh Allen ad. Hope it doesn’t rain.


WSU: The pass defense is going to have to be ready Saturday. Arizona is going to throw the ball. A lot. Greg Woods knows it will be. How? Past performance. … The Pac-12 held its final women’s basketball media day yesterday (as least as we know the conference). The Cougars were picked fifth. Greg has that story as well. … Arizona has done a good job of shoring up the offensive line. … Recruiting never stops, right? And Jake Dickert seems to be good at it, according to The Athletic. … Former Washington State star Klay Thompson is entering the NBA season with an expiring contract. … Elsewhere in the Pac-12 and the nation, Jon Wilner has his bowl projections in the Mercury News. No, not El Paso again. … Wilner’s Heisman list keeps changing. And could change a lot next week. … Washington’s newest athletic director, Troy Dannen, answered questions Tuesday. One answer, that the department needed seven home football games every year to make financial ends meet, triggered an alarm button. The Huskies only have four home Big Ten games in even years scheduled until 2028. That means, to have an Apple Cup in Pullman, it is only possible in 2025 and 2027. Interesting. (Full disclosure, UW’s president Ana Mari Cauce said later Dannen wasn’t up to speed on everything yet.) … This week, the Huskies get ready to face I-5 (and Big Ten) rival Oregon in a battle of undefeated, top-10 teams. It is a big deal for Washington, a big deal for the visiting Ducks and a big deal nationally. … Oregon is dealing with some injuries. … UCLA’s stifling defense, led by its pass rush, heads to Corvallis and a showdown with Oregon State. … USC’s porous defense heads to South Bend and a showdown with Notre Dame. At least Lincoln Riley has his priorities straight. … Colorado is at home, this time as the favorite. One thing going in Stanford’s favor is it had a bye last week. … Once again, it’s injury questions that dominate Utah’s week heading into the game against California. … In basketball news, the men’s all-conference preseason team was announced and WSU wasn’t represented. There were many teams with multiple selections, made by a media vote. … Stanford is not expected to win the women’s conference race and that’s a rare occurrence. … Will the series between Oregon and Oregon State continue?

Gonzaga: Of all the GU players who shined in the annual Kraziness in the Kennel scrimmage, Braden Huff probably helped himself the most. Jim Meehan has more on the redshirt freshman’s coming-out party. … Former Gonzaga star Domantas Sabonis is happy he’s staying in Sacramento. … BYU left the WCC, with one silver lining being getting away from Gonzaga in hoops. But that might not last.

EWU and Idaho: Around the Big Sky, Dan Thompson has his weekly notebook in the S-R. There have been some topsy-turvy happenings in the conference. … Big games hit each week but Sacramento State’s trip to Northern Colorado only qualifies in one way. It is the Bears’ homecoming. … Montana State will be Cal Poly’s biggest test yet in a season filled with them. … In basketball news, Idaho State’s men were picked fourth by one national publication.

Preps: Dave Nichols has a roundup of Tuesday’s action, starting with a key volleyball match.

Kraken: We made a joke about last night’s opener in Las Vegas. So did the Kraken, which is odd. They lost 4-1 to Vegas.

Seahawks: The Hawks have Cincinnati this week. Here’s all you need to know. Except, maybe, the city’s signature dish, it’s weird chili, is terrible. … Back in 2013, Seattle faced the Colts this week.


• It’s good to be back in Spokane, even if the 30-degree temperature swing is something of a shock. And the weird stuff falling from the sky. It’s actually wet. What is that? It scares me. Thanks, Lin, for the hospitality – and for always being my big sister. Until later …