Broncos-Chargers game not available for many around Colorado Springs

By Brent W. New, sports@gazette.com - Updated: December 12, 2013 at 3:16 pm • Published: December 11, 2013 | 10:05 pm 0
photo - Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls an audible at the line of scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) calls an audible at the line of scrimmage against the Kansas City Chiefs in the first quarter of an NFL football game, Sunday, Nov. 17, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)

The Thursday night football game featuring the record-setting Denver Broncos (11-2) and San Diego Chargers (6-7) won't be seen by many in Colorado Springs.

Late Wednesday afternoon, KKTV 11 confirmed to The Gazette that the game won't be available to Springs residents with basic cable.

"The only way you can watch it in Colorado Springs is if you have the NFL Network or can pick up the Denver (KCNC-TV) station," 20-year KKTV programmer Becky Tomek said. "We have picked up preseason games for the Broncos when it's on "Monday Night Football," but we have never been allowed to pick up a Thursday or Monday night game from ESPN or the NFL Network since I've been here."

Fans across the area voiced their displeasure when they learned that they wouldn't be able to watch a game that is taking place about an hour away.

And while some Colorado Springs residents are fuming, others may be unaware the game will not be available to them.

After three calls to Comcast's customer service between 1-2 p.m. on Wednesday, operators told The Gazette that the game would be available in Colorado Springs on their local CBS station.

When reached about the false information being spread to its customers on Wednesday evening, a Comcast representative said the mistake was "unintentional."

"We are aware customers have felt misled at times," said a customer service operator after discussing the situation with his floor manager, who was unavailable to talk. "We have third-party vendors, and they can make mistakes. Asking someone in the Philippines about a Broncos game in Denver might have some mistakes here and there. The operators are told to be honest if they don't know an answer, but sometimes we make unintentional mistakes."

The Colorado Springs Comcast branch was reached for comment after they closed at 7 p.m., and was unavailable to comment.

The fans say "It just seems unfair," according to Tomek, who said she has been dealing with seemingly nonstop complaints about the game's availability since Sunday afternoon.

"People are upset. They are upset that they can't watch their team play," Tomek said. "It's been a lot of frustration - a lot of frustration."

Tomek sent an email to Denver KCNC-TV programming director Wendy Holmes to ask about the specific reason the game won't be shown to basic cable holders in Colorado Springs.

According to Holmes in a response, the only local stations that have the rights to simulcast the Thursday night game is CBS4 in Denver and CBS 8 in San Diego. CBS affiliates usually broadcast games that feature AFC teams.

"The NFL Network and ESPN only offer the cable simulcasts to TV stations in the home towns of the teams playing," Holmes wrote back in an email at 10:15 a.m. Monday morning. "So this week's game was only offered to TV stations in Denver or San Diego, not to Colorado Springs or LA or any city close."

Fans will likely need to leave their house to watch the game on television.

"If you don't have it at home there are other options. If you can, get a group of your friends and go out to a restaurant or something to watch the game," KKTV sports director Sam Farnsworth said. "There are hundreds of places you can watch it if you are able to. Hopefully, you can find a place to enjoy it with some friends and family."

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