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Published January 20, 2011
GOING DOWN A SEPARATE TRAIL: In Portland, Mike Rogoway noted when the FCC on Tuesday approved Comcast’s purchase of NBCU, the provisions included “a requirement that Comcast offer its sports networks to competitors, and abide by an arbitrator's ruling if the parties can't come to agreement.” But the ruling “apparently won't break an impasse that has kept Portland Trail Blazers games off satellite TV and some competing cable systems.” A Comcast spokesperson yesterday said, "We were already living under an arbitration environment that either one of the parties could have invoked." DirecTV “agreed, calling the situation in Portland ‘status quo’ despite the FCC's order" (OREGONLIVE.com, 1/19).
IN THE CARDS: The GLOBE & MAIL’s Bruce Dowbiggin writes the merger of Comcast and NBCU “should produce a powerful rival to ESPN,” as NBC owns Olympics, NFL and NHL rights. NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman’s “bet has at long last played out -- just in time for the league’s U.S. TV negotiations, a process that is gearing up now.” The Comcast/NBC merger “will give the NHL extra leverage as it tries to get the IOC to compensate it for the league’s participation in future Winter Games” (GLOBE & MAIL, 1/20).
EXTREME NEWSPAPER MAKEOVER? USNEWS.com’s Paul Bedard reported the “rebirth of the conservative Washington Times is beginning this week.” Washington Times Managing Editor Chris Dolan said that the “initial hiring focus will be on editors for the sports, arts and metro sections,” and he “expects a good part of the sports staff” to be former Times reporters and editors (USNEWS.com, 1/19).