Versus, DirecTV Part Ways ... At Least For Now

To my surprise, midnight came and went and no deal was reached between Comcast and DirecTV for Versus to appear on the satellite provider. I figured it'd go something like the whole Viacom/Time Warner spat a few months back. At the final hour, I was able to keep my Comedy Central and all was right with the world. ↵

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↵That wasn't the case with DirecTV and Versus last night. First, we have DirecTV's side of the story: ↵

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↵⇥Comcast, the largest cable company in the U.S., owns Versus. They regularly try to charge us amounts well in excess of what is fair and reasonable to carry the programming they own. Their reason is obvious: they want to stifle competition from DIRECTV. Comcast's unfair terms undermines DIRECTV's ability to offer our customers the best possible value. If we simply accept these terms, we would have to absorb the unreasonable costs Comcast wants to charge us, and in turn we will be forced to increase the rates our customers pay. ↵
↵

↵Much of the argument about Versus seems to be large blocks of paid programming. Why should DirecTV pay as much to Versus as they do other networks in that instance? Well, Comcast/Versus says all it wants is "a comparable level of distribution as it does today at the same market price that other operators are paying." ↵

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↵What does it mean for the sports fan who shelled out to get DirecTV? MMA coverage? Adios. NHL season? It's on ice for now. College football games? You'll have to get out to the stadium if you want to see that big late-season Big 12 game. (And a friend of the blog also notes those of you into IRL won't be able to see the final race of the season.) ↵

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↵If there was a time for Versus and DirecTV to go into a protracted contract debate, it's now. College football hasn't started yet and neither has the NHL. Based on the look of Versus' college football schedule, they won't have a really meaningful game until at least October, because the September slate is pretty ho-hum, except that potentially interesting FSU-BYU tilt. NHL action is a ways away. But if this thing gets into the start of the NHL season and the heart of college football, this will be really ugly for all sides. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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