DirecTV and Versus Network — which shows NHL games — can’t agree on terms, meaning hockey fans may be in danger of having their TV-unfriendly sport not showing up much on TV this season.
Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir talks to an anonymous source close to the situation who says there’s probably nothing to worry about. Because the NHL is so important and such a ratings dynamo that there will be an upswell of hockey fans who demand the two sides make nice? Of course not! Because Versus also carries fourth-tier college football games.
The source said she expected VERSUS to blink first. The real impetus may be college football, which starts up on Sept. 12.
“They spend a lot of time crowing about the fact that they’ve expanded their exposure to 75 million homes,” she said. “Losing a third of that is a non-starter. DirecTV can get along just fine without VERSUS. VERSUS can’t live without DirecTV.”
Seems like DirecTV holds all the cards here. The good thing for hockey fans is that the college football season is about to start, and Versus isn’t scheduled to air NHL games until October.
NHL keeping its cool in VERSUS vs. DirecTV dispute [Sports Illustrated]