Sports cabler fighting over carriage fees

Versus may be off DirecTV as of Sept. 1.

Comcast-owned sports cabler that has made strides recently with the NHL playoffs and Tour de France is in a fight with DirecTV over an increase in carriage fees.

According to research firm SNL Kagan, Versus earns about 18¢ per subscriber and is asking for more.

The net is available in 75 million homes, up from 62 million three years ago.

Versus says it’s asking a fair market price for a network on the rise and is hoping a deal gets worked out by next week.

Net, which rebranded from Outdoor Life Network in 2006, carries college football and has three games featuring top-20 teams set for September. Versus carries five Pac-10 games and a handful of Big 12 and Mountain West contests.

Texas plays Wyoming on Sept. 12 and coverage of the NHL starts three weeks later.

In a statement Versus said: “Since our last deal with DirecTV, Versus has added many marquee properties and has become the fastest-growing sports cable network in the country. Despite this tremendous momentum, we are offering DirecTV the ability to carry Versus the same way it does today at the market price for the network. We continue to talk and are hopeful that we will reach an agreement.”

Versus customers on DirecTV are seeing a crawl saying the channel may no longer be available beginning next Tuesday.

The cabler reupped last year to cover the Tour de France for five more years. Viewership was up 134% in the 18-49 demo from a year ago.

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