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SBD/Issue 235/Sports Media
DirecTV Set To Drop Versus If No Deal Reached By Next Tuesday
Published August 25, 2009
IMPACT ON SPORTS: In Milwaukee, Dave Kallmann wrote the dispute is not good for "fans of the IRL, NHL, college football and the Tour de France, among other sports." DirecTV not carrying Versus is the "last thing the IRL needs as it tries to build its fan base complete and high-quality broadcasts" (JSONLINE.com, 8/24). The INDIANAPOLIS BUSINESS JOURNAL's Anthony Schoettle wrote while DirecTV "doesn't represent a huge viewing universe, the IRL can hardly afford to lose access to its more than 17 million North American subscribers" (IBJ.com, 8/24). Meanwhile, YAHOO SPORTS' Maggie Hendricks reported World Extreme Cagefighting's (WEC) September 2 WEC 43 event in Youngstown, Ohio, has been postponed until October 10. But the "good side of this postponement is that it gives executives from Versus a chance to work out a deal with DirecTV" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/24).
REALLY IN GOOD FAITH? The SPORTING BLOG's Dan Levy wrote both sides "claim to be working in good faith on a fair-market deal, but one has to wonder if DirecTV is turning the screws on Versus because the network is owned by Comcast." Levy: "Or conversely, is the network trying to overcharge DirecTV as part of some weird, face-spiting, counter-intuitive plan to have the network on fewer television services, thus giving Comcast (the cable carrier) more exclusivity with the NHL and other sports leagues that have coverage deals with Versus" (SPORTINGNEWS.com, 8/24).