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DATE News (chronologically)
09/01/09
irl
IRL loses DIRECTV customers  In yet another blow to the Versus deal with the Indy Racing League, DirecTV has announced that they were not able to reach agreement with Comcast by the August 31st deadline, and with today being September 1st, Versus will no longer be broadcast to DirecTV customers.  This will be another blow to IndyCar TV ratings, already below infomercial levels. 

Just last week IRL Commercial president Terry Angstadt said he was "very confident" that Versus will continue to be broadcast by DirecTV.

Should the IRL order the flowers and plan their funeral (remember the Versus deal is for 10, count them, 10 years), or will this be their way out of the contract?

The DirecTV announcement

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. We do not want this to happen. In fact, Comcast has forced us to remove Versus because we would not accept the terms they demanded.

We are currently in contract negotiations and will continue to work with Comcast until the matter is resolved. Rest assured that we are making every effort to ensure that you continue to be satisfied with your service.

For more information, please read our FAQs below.

On-air message says Versus is not available. Why?
Our contract with Comcast expired August 31 and we were unable to reach agreement on a renewal. Comcast was not only demanding renewal terms that did not reflect market value for the channel but also demanding carriage terms that were discriminatory. Comcast forced us to drop Versus unless we agreed to their unreasonable terms.

With Versus no longer available, how will DIRECTV make up for the loss?
We will communicate with you and do what we can to ensure your continued satisfaction and loyalty until the matter is resolved. We will continue to negotiate with Versus to resolve this matter. In the meantime, you'll still be able to watch plenty of similar sports programming on other channels we carry.

  • •College football — available on Big Ten Network, CBS College Sports, ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN GamePlan, The Mtn., local channels and your RSN.
  • •NHL — available on NHL Network, NHL Center Ice, and your RSN.
  • •Mixed Martial Arts — available on HDNet, Spike TV, and UFC on DIRECTV Pay-Per-View.
  • •Auto Racing — IRL on ABC, Formula 1 on Fox and Speed
  • Bull riding — available on ESPN2 and the Houston Rodeo on DIRECTV Pay-Per-View.
  • •Hunting and fishing — available on ESPN2, The Sportsman Channel, The Outdoor Channel, and Pursuit TV.

What's keeping you from reaching an agreement?
Comcast is asking for terms which do not reflect the market and which they are not asking of all other distributors. They claim their offer is status quo when in reality, they are asking for almost a 20% increase in fees. DIRECTV wants to keep your monthly fees low, so it's doing everything it can to avoid paying exorbitant programming fees.

Should I switch to DISH or cable?
No. There's no need to consider switching providers. DIRECTV has the best variety of exclusive and premium content available anywhere and we have similar programming on other channels (see above). If you are concerned about NHL, we still have time to negotiate with Comcast before the start of the NHL season. For PBR fans, we offered to carry PBR programming, but PBR events are exclusive to Versus and cannot be made available to DIRECTV.

Is this all just so DIRECTV can save money?
Not at all, this is about DIRECTV getting treated fairly and not wanting to pass on high programming fees to our customers.

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