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Versus only available on Dish Network


The NHL season kicks off tonight with two great match ups on Versus, the Washington Capitals v. Boston Bruins followed by the San Jose Sharks v. Colorado Avalanche.  However, if you have DIRECTV, you will be unable to watch any of the Versus games throughout the 2009.  Apparently, because of a fallout between DIRECTV and Comcast, Versus is no longer available on DIRECTV.  From a press release from DIRECTV, Comcast allegedly “is demanding an overall rate hike of 20% on top of that.  Comcast is also forcing DIRECTV to make Versus available to a much larger portion of our customer base at our own expense than they require from other TV providers — most notably, DISH Network.”

What is unfortunate about this situation is that Versus also carries college football (Mountain West conference coverage), as well as MMA, bull riding, and the Indy Racing League (IRL).  DIRECTV claims to be at the forefront of bringing sporting events to viewers.  If they were really that good, they’d cut some sort of deal with Comcast.  It is a shame to think that people who are fans such as Mountain West football IRL will be shortchanged if they are DIRECTV subscribers.

What confuses me is why DIRECTV would not provide coverage while DISH Network will.  The only reason that I can think of is the basic economics.  The number of viewers who subscribe to DIRECTV and want to have Versus does not outweigh the cost the company would incur if they were to pay Comcast.  During a time of recession, companies are looking to cut costs.  That includes satellite TV providers.  But to think that a somewhat major cable company doesn’t have their channel picked up is absurd.  The NHL needs to push the two companies into an agreement.  Let’s be honest, the other sports shown on Versus don’t have a big fan following.  But the marketing people at the NHL need to get the ball rolling.  If the NHL’s business plan is to expand in popularity and gain fans, it is necessary for their games to be seen by as many people as possible.

Next year, the Tour de France features Lance Armstrong’s new team.  The  number of cycling fans in the US is growing, and with the exposure to the Tour, more people will come to understand and follow it.  Armstrong is almost assured a victory since he will build his own team, but those with DIRECTV will not be able to watch.  It’s just so unfortunate.

This is very disappointing to any television viewer.  Ok, I’ll admit that I can live without DISH Network picking up the Oxygen Channel or Indian Network.  But I believe I speak for all the sports junkies out there when I say DIRECTV needs to bite the bullet and pay up to Comcast.  If you want to stand by your story about being the premiere satellite television provider, then pay up.  You can’t use Comcast hiking up the rates as an excuse.  You have loyal fans and you will probably see a slight drop in subscriptions.  All it’s going to do is cause more hassle and debate.

Topics: General | 1 Comment »

One Response to “Versus only available on Dish Network”
venna - October 18th, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Dish network won’t pick up the Mountain channel. It is carried on Direct TV and Comcast. It’s the channel for the Mountain West college sports teams. Do you know if it’s possible to have Comcast on one TV if we already have Dish on the other’s? We’ve asked Dish to consider the MTN for the past 2 years.

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