The Timberwolves' 84-83 overtime loss at Phoenix last night was offered by Fox Sports North on its Plus channel -- a significant minus for Comcast subscribers. As noted by a lot of frustrated fans on Twitter, the game was not available on Comcast. As noted by Jerry Zgoda, this was perhaps a blessing in disguise because the game was not especially well-played (to put it mildly) and followed the maddening script of comeback-falls-short that we have seen often from the Wolves.
Still, if you have Comcast and part of your Tuesday plan was to watch the game -- something you should have had every right to expect, as detrimental as that might have been to your eyes -- not being able to watch was extremely frustrating (for the record, we have DirecTV and could watch the game -- though there have been issues with a couple of previous Plus games not being available until mid-game).
We reached out to folks from Comcast, FSN and the Wolves. Here is what they had to say:
Mary Beth Schubert, the VP of Corporate Affairs locally for Comcast: "There was a miscommunication between two different departments that work on the scheduling of final games. The respective groups are meeting to debrief on the situation and to develop a plan to ensure it doesn't happen again."
So it was definitely a mess-up on the part of Comcast -- not FSN or the Wolves. Whatever happened seems to have been enough a matter of "human error" to satisfy FSN in terms of this not happening again.
Said Becky Ross Mielke, Director of Communications FOX Sports North: "Comcast informs us that last night's Wolves game was unavailable to their customers due to an unfortunate combination of human and technical errors. Comcast has expressed their apologies and ensures us that similar mistakes will be avoided going forward."
That is key, of course, since FSN is coming into a stretch where the Plus channel -- an added spot on the TV lineup used specifically at times when FSN has multiple games to air at once -- will be getting a workout. The Wolves are scheduled to be on FSN Plus five more times this year. The Wild, too, has five games on FSN Plus the rest of the year. The Twins have four preseason games in March on FSN Plus. Gophers men's hockey on March 9 is on FSN Plus.
As ugly as it was last night, it would have been uglier if, say, it had happened during a game with playoff implications. Even so, it was bad enough for a lot of fans.
“We’re extremely disappointed in the events of last night that prevented some Timberwolves fans from seeing our game at Phoenix," said Ted Johnson, Senior VP of Communications and Chief Marketing Officer with the Wolves. "We know our partners at FSN are working with Comcast to resolve this issue and it is our expectation that fans will not experience similar interruptions to future game broadcasts.”
So next time a Comcast subscriber wants to watch an epic Derrick Williams vs. Wes Johnson battle at the rim, he or she shouldn't have any problems.