From our friends at SkyReport.com
More interests eyeing News Corp.'s proposed takeover of Hughes and DirecTV recently contacted the Federal Communications Commission with concerns about the billion-dollar transaction, awaiting regulatory approval in Washington, D.C.
Twins Sports Inc. and its executive vice president, Kevin Cattoor, met with members of the Hughes Transaction Team, a group of FCC officials scrutinizing the News Corp./DirecTV transaction, to discuss cable and satellite carriage issues and the deal from the perspective of the new regional sports network.
At the meeting, the company expressed concern with the vertical integration of a satellite TV platform with existing regional sports networks, saying the effort "could skew marketplace incentives and end up discouraging good faith negotiations toward fair market value prices for RSN offerings," Twins Sports' filing at the FCC said. News Corp., working to gain a controlling stake in DirecTV and Hughes, has FOX regional sports nets in several key sports markets, including Minneapolis.
Officials also discussed methods to preserve marketplace incentives for programmers, such as limiting any inappropriate use of retransmission consent negotiations for vertically integrated companies, the company's filing said.
Twins Sports, also known in cable/satellite circles as Victory Sports, acquired local TV rights for Minnesota Twins Baseball, with coverage beginning in 2004. The network also has rights to University of Minnesota men's basketball and football games, additional Big Ten Conference coverage, as well as college hockey and football games from St. Cloud State and Minnesota State–Mankato. The network is affiliated with the Minnesota Twins Baseball Club, and is set to launch Oct. 31.
In a separate move, the Center for Digital Democracy kept up its pressure on the News Corp./DirecTV deal, speaking with FCC Media Bureau personnel about the proposed transaction.
This week, the group targeted News Corp. business units - such as NDS and Gemstar/TV Guide - and asked the bureau to assess the competitive role the entities could have once the media giant takes over the satellite TV service. The Center also asked the FCC to scrutinize the relationship between News Corp. and Liberty Media.