Joe Tuscano's Sports Column
CBS Sports Network, NPF have TV deal
Finally, it’s showtime.
The National Pro Fastpitch softball league and CBS Sports Network completed a deal to broadcast league games this season.
And the leadoff hitters will be the Pennsylvania Rebellion and USSSA Pride.
The National Pro Fastpitch league was under contract with ESPN last year but the two parted ways for the 2014 season. Negotiations have been ongoing since the spring and were only recently completed.
The games between the Rebellion and Pride will be broadcast on Channel 274, 288 or 844 (HD) for Comcast subscribers July 7 and July 8. Both games have 7 p.m. starting times, its website shows.
The programming also can be found on channels 274, 288, 221 and 854, 221 (HD) on DIRECTV, channels 158 and 158 (HD) on the DISH Network and channels 94 and 594 (HD) on Verizon Fios.
The USSSA Pride are the defending champions and the Rebellion are in their inaugural season after taking over the New York-New Jersey franchise and moving it here. Both games will be played at Consol Energy Park, home of the Rebellion and Washington Wild Things.
CBS Sports Network will televise more games, but the network’s schedule is only set through July 10.
The Rebellion and Pride opened the season May 30 with a four-game series that was played at neutral sites in Maryland. Those games were available on ESPN3, a broadband network used for sports programming. Bernie Guenther did the play-by-play and Barbara Jordan was color analyst.
The league and ESPN3 have a seven-game commitment, according to the NPF main schedule. Four games have already been shown and the remaining three were scheduled for a series between the Chicago Bandits and Pride that began last night.
This season’s championship series is Aug. 22-23 in Hoover, Ala.
Last year, the league’s championship series – a best-of-3 event between the Bandits and Pride – was broadcast on ESPN2.
The Rebellion have all games webcast on msasports.com and provide live statistics for each game on GameChanger, a free scorekeeping and stat package provider on the Internet.
The Rebellion will end an eight-day layoff when they begin a four-game series at Akron that opens Saturday. That series will be followed by three open dates before a four-game series with the Pride that starts July 5. The final two games of that series will be on CBS Sports Network. More sporting events can be watched by logging on to www.cbssports.com.
The Rebellion are off to a 3-11 start in this four-team league, trailing the first-place Pride by eight games.
Assistant Sports Editor Joe Tuscano can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org