Thursday, April 17, 2014
You’d think that a multibillion-dollar multinational corporation with a serious public relations problem might think it would be worth spending a few thousand dollars to buy some goodwill. In the case of Time Warner Cable, you would be wrong.
At issue is a fiber optic cable connection in the renovated Cumberland County Civic Center, which would allow the state high school basketball tournament games to be broadcast over the Maine Public Broadcasting Network. Time Warner previously had a free connection in the civic center, but following the building’s renovation, the company is no longer a sponsor of the facility.
Time Warner is balking at a $5,000 to $8,000 annual fee to run its cable into the building, which is publicly owned. That means the boys and girls Class A championship games, along with other tournament games, will be blacked out.
Time Warner is known for its heavy-handed negotiating style, sometimes pushing networks over the brink and dropping their programming to leverage a better deal. But using those kinds of tactics against a publicly owned facility and a public service broadcaster is uncalled for.
The company collected $22.1 billion in revenue last year, up 3.4 percent from 2012. It ought to be able to let Maine’s high school athletes get their much-deserved moment in the spotlight.