first and foremost, I apologize if this is sloppy and not pretty. It's my first Fanpost (althoguh I'm a loooooong time lurker- props to weoweoweoweo for being my Fanpost idol btw)
As we all know, Direct TV no longer carries Versus, and therefore no longer carries WEC events. We've all read the reasonings given by Direct TV- indicating Comcast (who owns Versus) is to blame for asking for an increase of 20% for the channel, which they claim is unfair. Direct TV also claims Comcast is unwilling to negotiate. On the other end, Comcast isn't explaining anything. Well, I happen to be a Comcast employee! So here's the downlow on the situation- I figured the real MMA fans who NEED WEC and are stuck in a contract would appreciate this.
The 20% increase in cost for Versus is indeed true, as Direct TV states. However, stating that this isa higher price than market value is false. no other company thus far has had a problem with the price increase, as channels tend to be more expensive when they gain viewer traction (Comcast has to deal with contract issues for channels all the time too).
The real issue is this- Comcast also owns a channel called "Comcast Sportsnet". A channel which has EXCLUSIVE deals with many sports teams throughout the country. For example, In the Oregon market (my market) Comcast Sportsnet shows EVERY Blazers game (basketball) and Mariners game (baseball). This leaves Direct TV without many many games that they would like to be able to air. In negotiations, Direct TV has stated they will; not pay the increased charges for the Versus channel, unless comcast also signs agreements for their Comcast Sportsnet channels.
The Comcast Sportsnet channels give comcast a HUGE advantage over their competitors- and thus they will not give it to another company. Period. (Similar to Direct TV not giving their NFL ticket to other companies. its standard operating procedures). Due to Versus not being in huge demand like other comcast owned channels (like E!), they are able to use this as a bargaining chip to get Comcast Sportsnet- and thus we have a stalemate.
So what is zuffa to do? Well, they cant merge the WEC due to contractual obligations with Versus. If you ask me, they need to keep WEC as a feeder promotion (they will need one if the are able to stamp out all other competition!) and bring over all their top 135/145 talent to the UFC. Aka, gut the WEC. this would essentially "merge" their fighters into the UFC, but keep a feeder promotion on Versus, and therefore not break any contracts.
What do you guys think zuffa should do?