Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 07/31/05 at 07:40 AM ET
Beneath Comcast CEO Brian Roberts' meek appearance lies a killer instinct and the best poker face in cable television deal-making. That's why industry watchers last week greeted news that Comcast may look to acquire rights to air NHL games — as part of a total repositioning of its Outdoor Life Network as an all-sports channel to challenge ESPN — with more than a bit of suspicion. It might just be a ploy to gain Roberts leverage — and save him millions of dollars in ESPN carriage fees, analysts said. "Going after the rights gives Comcast the ability to say to sports programming providers that they expect to be a player, and that they expect to be accommodated if they decide to back off," said Jimmy Schaeffler, a cable industry analyst with The Carmel Group. By actively pursuing sports-programming rights, Comcast is simultaneously positioning itself to, at the very least, extract concessions from ESPN when its contracts come up for renewal next year. Roberts has to do something to stem the rising fees paid to ESPN. If not, by 2009 Comcast will be paying the network a humongous $6.48 per-subscriber per-month fee, according to one estimate.
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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.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
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