Deal also covers web and mobile distribution

Universal Sports has inked a carriage deal with DirecTV — the first time in the history of the network it has been on the satcaster. The multi-year deal will begin Oct. 1, with a free preview for all the satellite provider’s customers beginning in August.

DirecTV has about 19.4 million U.S. customers with an additional 10 million in Latin America. The agreement comes at a fortuitous time: Universal Sports airs plenty of footage of Olympic contenders outside the Games, and with the London Olympics coming up in 2012, expectations around those competitors will be high.

The net will not, however, air any footage of the Olympic Games themselves because it is not 100% owned by NBCU. It will provide on-site commentary without direct coverage of the competitions.

In addition to the net itself, DirecTV acquires full digital rights to Universal Sports content, meaning DirecTV will be able to distribute the net’s programming across all its Web and mobile services, including those still in development.

It’s the kind of deal that more and more carriers are pushing for, negotiations between AT&T’s U-verse and Food Net parent Scripps broke down last year over multiplatform vid rights, resulting in a brief blackout.

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