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Turn Out the Lights: DirecTV drops Versus ... Rob Tallas Officially Joins Staff

Test_Pattern Whole lot of he-said, she-said going on with the DirecTV-Versus dispute that has at least temporarily pulled the Comcast-owned 'network' off of DirecTV.

The contract between the two expired at midnight.

According to DirecTV, Versus wants a 20 percent increase in what DirecTV already pays out -- something DirecTV rightfully feels is preposterous.

On its website, DirecTV called Versus' demands ''piggish'' and called it a channel which ''is basically a paid programming and infomercial channel with occasional sporting events of interest.''

Comcast, which competes directly with DirecTV for customers, says it has the fastest growing cable network around and deserves more money.

OK.

DirecTV said in a statement that Comcast ''forced us to take down the channel because we will not agree to their ridiculous demands that simply do not reflect current market valuations for their programming."

Says Comcast: "We are disappointed that DirecTV has chosen to remove Versus from its service and deny their subscribers access to our all-encompassing coverage of the sports they love. Since our last deal with DirecTV, Versus has added many marquee properties and has become one of the fastest-growing sports cable networks in the country. Versus offered DirecTV a fair and reasonable offer to carry the network at the market price. We hope DirecTV will make the right decision for their customers and put Versus back on the air."

Versus, home of some college football and IndyCar racing aside from its national NHL contract, hopes to be back on the air in the coming days, but it looks like they are going to be the ones dropping the concessions. I just don't see them having much in the way of negotiating. Are people really clamoring to see Mountain West football that badly? Will the bull riding folk go crazy this weekend and flood DirecTV's phone banks with demands that Versus return?

Doubtful. But, when hockey kicks up again, the NHL just may have to get involved and get those DirecTV eyeballs back.

And, if you want to contact DirecTV on Versus' behalf, knock yourself out.

Again, this will get worked out before the NHL season starts.

-- For those with DirecTV, here's what you are missing on Versus right now -- Noon-12:30: Paid programming; 12:30-1: Whitetail Revolutions; 1-1:30 Hunting 201.

-- Rob Tallas has been working with Tomas Vokoun and the rest of the early-to-rise Panthers at Incredible Ice the past few weeks. Now he'll get to continue that work into the season as the team hired the former NHL goalie as its new goalie consoltent.

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Versus also carries World Extreme Cagefighting, the sister promotion of the UFC, which concentrates and highlights the smaller weight classes, 135lbs, 145lbs, 155lbs, and soon a 125lbs weight class. They have some of the top pound for pound fighters in the world on Versus, and regularly produce some of the best mixed martial arts fights you'll ever see. Mikey Brown from Coconut Creek is currently the 145lbs.

Versus also generates good ratings with their coverage of the Tour de France and the occasional America's Cup sailing competition.

I wouldn't belittle Versus the network so much. And they have improved on their NHL coverage. I just wish they offered more nightly.

Now Comcast on the other hand, for the same price I was payin with them, I get a MUCH MUCH greater deal than with AT&T. My internet isn't limited on traffic. And one of their own servicemen told me when I was havin on goin issues, that the company refuses to upgrade their infrastructure in Broward county. So Comcast can teabag my grundle as far as I'm concerned.

Thank god for Justin.tv

Couldn't care less. I have DirecTV and dropped to a lower tier to save money until the playoffs when I needed Versus to watch. Dropped to a lower tier again after the draft. During the regular season they show games I don't care about. I get FSN, Center Ice and the NHL Network. Monday when Versus shows their games I take a night off hockey. DirecTv prices are too high already. Versus is no loss.

I enjoy watching my Florida Panthers lose on FoxSports, and I really don't have enough time to watch the other teams on Versus. It'll be a bummer not watching the NHL during the playoffs. But the Cats won't be in it, so for a Panthers fan, it's really no big deal. Whatever.

The big deal is that Sportsnet.ca is reporting the Panthers will not be looking for a General Manager for the whole year, and Randy Sexton will be staying as interim GM. Pathetic!

Well as long as I can watch my crappy Panthers on Center Ice, I don't care...that is, until next July and the Tour de France which my wife and I really enjoy. It's one of the few sporting events we can watch together since she's not a sports fan.

Versus pulled the same stunt with DISH Network a couple of years ago, with the same result that DISH dropped the channel temporarily. It'll be back on DirecTV probably within a month or so after they negotiate a deal (likely at far less than Versus was asking, and rightly so).

Advertisers don't take kindly to networks that suddenly lose 1/3 of their market reach by making stupid business decisions, but Versus does have a little pull as some consumers actually do want to see NHL games (and maybe a few want to see the pro rodeo shows they have, and now some auto racing, too).

I don't care much for Versus either way. I will give them props for improving their NHL coverage a great deal (mostly by importing ESPN's talent).

Does anyone know when the Panthers' TV schedule will get published? The Panthers web site still points to last year's schedule.

Clash, in addition to the WEC, Vs. airs UFC fights. Zuffa recently aired an encore of UFC 100 to combat rival Strikeforce's Carano vs Cyborg event on Showtime.

Combine that existing trend with the possibility of the WEC being integrated into the UFC, and there's a lot of potential for quality events being aired live on Vs. I've even heard that they were thinking of airing undercard fights on Vs., which often results in some of the best fights of the night (Duffee's UFC-record fastest knockout at UFC 102).

When you tune to VS network on DirecTV channel 603, you get this message;

"Comcast, which owns Versus, has forced us to take down the channel because we will not submit to their unfair and outrageous demands."

Doesnt sound like DirecTV is going to be backing down anytime soon, lol...

It all goes back to Bettman, he is pushing Versus for Ed Snyder and company as Comcast owns the Flyers. This is the only reason the NHL is on Versus. Versus contract with the NHL gives them exclusive rights on nights they have hockey on. This means that no local tv for teams not on Versus.

Without Directv, the NHL ratings will go down even more, not that they were that great to begin with.

I guess Bettman is having a really bad year, he has the Phoenix situation and now a new labor war coming and the Versus problem.

As far as the playoffs, since the Panthers will not be in them in the near future no problems, as I rarely watch the NHL on Versus.

Note, just wanted to point out that I was mistaken in mentioning UFC fights on Vs. That's Spike TV.

But I have herd rumblings of a WEC/UFC merger regarding talent. Just wanted to clear that up.

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