Stevens Fears Cable Sports Monopoly (1 Viewer)

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Washington -- Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) said Thursday that he’s concerned that Comcast Corp. and Time Warner Cable could “monopolize” local sports after the two MSOs buy Adelphia Communications Corp.’s 5 million subscribers.

“I think my main concern [is] the problem of entities trying to monopolize sports. And, having those entities merge, I really do think that the [Federal Communications Commission] has to address the question of the ability of entities to take away from local people or from people who don’t choose to use one particular type of provider the opportunity to participate in the sports world,” Stevens told reporters.

On Tuesday, Stevens sent FCC chairman Kevin Martin a letter asking for a careful review of the Adelphia deal out of concern that Comcast and Time Warner would have the market clout to secure regional sports programming that would not be available to satellite competitors DirecTV Inc. and EchoStar Communications Corp.

“This idea that someone can contract and get an exclusive right and shut [satellite] out, to me, means, well, maybe they shouldn’t have any rights at all to be in the broadcasting business or program business. We cannot allow that to happen. It has got to be available,” Stevens said.

He indicated that he might address local sports rights in his pending telecommunications bill.

“That is one of the key issues of our committee today: how to ensure that sports are properly treated,” he added. “It is not private, and it ought to be one of those new rights. We’re going to create a bunch of rights, and one of the rights ought to be access by the public to sports programming, particularly those in their area.”

Stevens spoke to reporters accompanied by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), who also voiced concern about the public access to local sports.

“If there is such a thing as an American way of life, sports is part of that,” said Inouye, the most senior Democrat on the committee.

http://www.multichannel.com/article/CA6322911.html?display=Breaking+News
 

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