Sports Outside the Beltway

Versus-DirecTV dispute will affect Mountain West Conference Football viewers

As of midnight September 1st, the satellite provider stopped carrying the sports channel. From the Salt Lake City Tribune-

Unless an agreement is reached in the near future, BYU and Utah football fans who are DirecTV subscribers will not be able to watch their teams play several games on the Versus television network this fall.

TCU, Wyoming, Air Force and San Diego State fans are out of luck as well.

The sports channel Versus has broadcast rights to televise the Sept. 19 Florida State-BYU game, the Oct. 24 TCU-BYU game, the Oct. 24 Air Force-Utah game and the Nov. 21 San Diego State-Utah game. It also has the Wyoming-Texas game on Sept. 12 and a few others involving Mountain West Conference teams.

Versus, which is owned by cable giant Comcast Corp., was dropped by satellite broadcaster DirecTV on Tuesday after the two sides failed to strike a deal to keep the channel as part of DirecTV’s lineup.

A notice on the DirecTV channel previously occupied by Versus says, “Comcast, which owns Versus, has forced us to take down the channel because we will not submit to their unfair and outrageous demands.”

Once known as the Outdoor Life Network (OLN), Versus is known now for its Tour de France and National Hockey League coverage. It also has rights to selected MWC, Big 12 and Pac-10 football games.

Both sides are giving differing reasons for the dispute. Mountain West football fans who subscribe to Directv have reason to be anxious. Their games were to start being aired next week on Versus.

Normally I could care less about Versus, but my television viewing can be affected if the two sides don’t come to an agreement quickly. The NHL is also aired on Versus, and the Florida Panthers(my favorite hockey team) open the 2009-10 season by playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Helsinki. Only Versus is televising the game. Out of the 82 games the Florida Panthers played in 2008-09, I doubt I missed watching five of those that were shown on television.

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A petition has been posted asking DirecTV and Versus to settle this dispute – please sign!

Posted by Mark | January 7, 2010 | 11:54 am | Permalink

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