DirecTV Adds $3 Surchage for Sports

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This week, it was revealed that DirecTV is adding a $3 surcharge to its customers who want to watch regional sports through its services. Apparently, it is related to the company's long and difficult negotiations with Time Warner Cable over its two sports networks, Time Warner SportsNet and Time Warner Deportes, earlier this year and the cost of carrying sports in general.

The surcharge applies to all new customers of DirecTV and applies to their Choice, Choice Xtra, Choice Ultimate and Premier packages. Even with the fee, DirecTV insists that it only pays for part of the cost of providing regional coverage to customers. They also insist that by offering the charge and thereby the sports events themselves that the customer has the ultimate choice to either watch sports or not. Alternatively, subscribers can obtain a no-fee entertainment package of 140 channels, including the perennial ESPN.

Elsewhere, TV revenues are suffering due to the continuing strike by National Hockey League players. Monday, the NHL canceled yet another 104 games. This means that so far almost 43% of the 2012-2013 schedule has been wiped out due to the lockout.

Currently, players and the league are at an impasse and have not met since last Thursday. Assuming an agreement were made now, speculation is that the best that could be hoped for is a 48-game season. Meanwhile, networks who carry the games struggle to deal with the lost income from the shortened season. This also carries over to the venues such as Pittsburgh and Boston where arenas and nearby businesses are also suffering.
 

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