Kukla's Korner Hockey
In the last week, readers have asked DIRECTV’s Twitter reps if Versus will soon return to the air. The standard reply: They think so.
“We have productive talks going on with Versus and should have an update soon,” one DIRECTV tweet said.
Another DIRECTV Twitter rep stated: “We have productive conversations going on with Versus and hope to have news soon.”
“I believe that it will work out and we will be back in the 16 million home that we were on in the DirecTV universe once they work this out. And I am hopeful that the sides will work this out in advance of the playoffs. But in terms of the coverage we get and the treatment we get, we couldn’t be treated better by anybody else.”
-Gary Bettman on the Versus/Directv dispute and the Versus coverage. More at Chicago Breaking Sport News.
Sports Illustrated writer Josh Gross wrote yesterday on his Twitter page that he’s been told that a resolution will occur in March.
“For DirecTV subscribers concerned they’ll miss UFC on Versus (Jones-Vera, Gonzaga-dos Santos) I’m told a resolution is expected by March,” Gross said.
Versus NHL Coverage (@VersusNHL) is now following our tweets on Twitter but we can’t follow their broadcasts on @DirecTV #fail
-OnFrozenBlog on their Twitter.
NEW YORK, N.Y. (December 28, 2009)-VERSUS will drop the puck on 2010 with a 90-minute program on New Year’s Eve, titled NHL Winter Classic Eve Special on VERSUS Presented by Bridgestone. The show, which begins at 11 p.m. ET, will be hosted by VERSUS’ Hockey Central studio team-Bill Patrick, Keith Jones and Brian Engblom-and will air live from a remote studio atop Fenway Park, the location for the third annual NHL Winter Classic game on New Year’s Day featuring an outdoor game between the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers.
Mike Rucki of On Frozen Blog tells all we want to know about the Sports Jobs with Junior Seau…
Tonight is the premier of the NHL Equipment Manager episode of Sports Jobs with Junior Seau on Versus (11:30 p.m., again at 2:00 a.m.). Seau accompanied the Capitals for their trip up to Boston to open the season.
This first clip shows Seau struggling to pronounce “Leonsis” before he joins Ted in the box for the game. Note the inadvertent cameo by Kurt Kehl, the Caps’ VP of Communications.
from Greg Wyshynski of PuckDaddy,
Next Wednesday (on Versus) is the episode featuring Seau as an equipment manager for the Washington Capitals. He spoke with us recently about working that sports job, gauging the toughness of hockey players and the impression Alex Ovechkin(notes) made on him. That, along with talk about his three days as a reporter for Sports Illustrated, concussions in the NFL and NHL and attempting to be a TV star after football. Oh, and a strange moment involving man-on-man tickling. Enjoy.
On a player to player basis, who has more equipment: Football or hockey?
Oh, definitely a hockey player. There’s so much more going on. They wear leotards underneath those pads.
What’s that one stud’s name?
Yeah, Alex. Watching him, you’d think that he would be a prima donna. That guy is a jokester. He lightens it up. The reason why the Capitals are doing so well is basically because the guy puts it in perspective. He’s not bigger than anybody on that team, and he cares for the players in that locker room, which I got to see firsthand.
from Carl Steward of the Oakland Tribune,
This year’s Cal-Stanford game is being televised exclusively on Versus, which was dropped from the DirecTV lineup at the end of August when its contract to carry the network expired. Negotiations on a new deal between Versus and DirecTV have been stalled for nearly three months because of a feud over carriage fees.
The Pac-10 has already lost its DirecTV audience in five previous games televised on Versus this year, including Stanford-Arizona on Oct.”‰17 and last week’s Cal home game against the Wildcats.
The Pac-10 doesn’t have a direct contract with Versus, which is owned by Comcast. It does have a deal with Fox Sports Net instead, a deal that runs through the 2011-12 basketball season.
“They (Versus) are really a sub-licensee of Fox, which puts out five to six games to Versus every year,” said Jim Muldoon, Pac-10 associate commissioner for communications and football administration. “There are selection rights to put one game on FSN and one game on Versus each weekend. Versus, for this particular weekend, had the selection preference and took Cal-Stanford.”
Cal and Stanford fans don’t have much recourse other than to complain to DirecTV or Versus. Muldoon said the Pac-10 is powerless to apply
from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press,
Detroit Red Wings forward Kris Draper expects former linemate Darren McCarty to “call it as he sees it” as a guest analyst for Versus on Nov. 23. Versus will carry the Wings’ game at Nashville.
“I saw him a couple weeks ago in Troy, and he was hoping to get an opportunity to go into TV,” Draper said.
Did McCarty say he was officially retired as a player?
“He was basically talking like he was finished,” Draper said. “I don’t know if he’s made anything official yet, but that’s how it sounded.”
Draper couldn’t resist a friendly jab.
“I think his looks are definitely more for radio than television, but I think he’s going to do a good job,” Draper said.
from Mike Reynolds of Multichannel News,
More than two months after their contract ended, Versus and DirecTV remain at distribution loggerheads, their impasse showing no signs of subsiding.
However, a pair of external factors - negotiations toward a long-term expanded distribution package with Dish Network and the potential union of Comcast with NBC Universal - could exert pressures that facilitate a resolution.
Comcast’s national sports service has been off the No. 1 DBS provider’s air since their contract expired on Sept. 1. In the meantime, the parties have continued to negotiate a four-year deal, but remained locked in their stances over price and positioning, while Versus continues to ring up Nielsen advances.
The ratings amelioration has come without DirecTV’s 14 million-plus homes, as much of that subscriber loss has been made up by sneak previews on a number of cable operators and Dish Network, which has provided Versus a full berth of its homes. As such, Versus’ sub count has only declined to 71 million homes from 75 million, before the DirecTV drop.
The Dish free preview, though, is slated to end on Nov. 30. However, sources familiar with the negotiations indicate that Versus and Dish are moving toward a more permanent, expanded placement for the network.
About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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