AT&T U-verse – FOX Midwest dispute unresolved

For the second consecutive year, 20 regular-season St. Louis Cardinals games may not be seen by St. Louis-area AT&T U-verse customers.

Spring is generally a time of optimism for all baseball fans. So it is for followers of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2012 as last week, the club formally announced plans for 150 of the 162 regular season games to be televised on FOX Sports Midwest. At least 10 other Cardinals contests will be carried on national broadcasts.

Not everyone may be completely happy, however. Once again in 2012, tens of thousands of Cardinals fans in the St. Louis viewing area who rely on AT&T U-verse as their television provider may not be able to watch 20 Cardinals telecasts.

Last season, countless U-verse customers became upset when they learned they were prohibited from viewing these 20 Cardinals broadcasts due to a dispute between the carrier and FOX Sports Midwest.

As of now, the situation has not been resolved for 2012, despite the two sides continuing their dialogue. The specific 20 games that will be unavailable to U-verse customers this season have not yet been identified.

"We continue to talk with AT&T with the hope that they will choose to deliver all Cardinals telecasts to fans this season," FOX Sports Midwest spokesman Geoff Goldman explained on Thursday.

Goldman made it clear that the local issue is specific to AT&T U-verse.

"Every other provider in the St. Louis area will distribute all of our Cardinals game telecasts in 2012," the FOX Sports Midwest spokesman said.

The dispute is rooted in a change that began in 2011, when FOX Sports Midwest picked up a group of 20 Cardinals games that were previously broadcast by on-air KSDK Channel 5. To help recoup their higher production costs and rights fees, FSM asked their carriers for an increase as well. A year later, AT&T U-verse is the only St. Louis-area provider still holding out.

AT&T public relations manager Katie Nagus sees it from the perspective of higher costs passed on to their subscribers.

"We don't believe AT&T and ultimately our customers should have to pay more for access to these (20) Cardinals games, especially while we're trying to keep costs down for our customers," Nagus explained in a Thursday email.

In a final point of clarification, the AT&T spokesperson noted, "U-verse TV customers will continue to have access to approximately 130 Cardinals games this season on FSN Midwest."

While there is still time for a positive resolution, the clock is ticking. The first of the 150 Cardinals regular season contests to be televised by FOX Sports Midwest will coincide with the second game of the team's schedule, on Friday, April 6. The five spring training broadcasts to be televised on FOX Sports Midwest will not be affected.



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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnationblog.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Look for his weekly minor league column during the season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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