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Verizon to Impose Monthly Sports Fee

By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (January 25, 2013) -- Verizon is joining DIRECTV in levying a monthly surcharge on customers for regional sports channels, writes Multichannel News.

The publication reports that Verizon next month will begin charging new FiOS TV subscribers -- and customers who subscribe month-to-month -- a $2.42 monthly fee for regional sports networks.

DIRECTV last summer added a $3 monthly sports fee
to the bills of new customers in roughly 20 percent of U.S. markets. The fee was imposed in markets where there is more than one regional sports channel, such as Los Angeles, which has four.

Multichannel News said Verizon next month will impose the $2.42 monthly fee on customers in California, Texas and Florida and in all remaining states except Maryland and Virginia in March. (Maryland and Virginia residents will get the fee in April.)

Like DIRECTV, Verizon says the fee is necessary to offset the rising costs of acquiring sports programming.

"Verizon has chosen a fee of $2.42 per month to address the skyrocketing incremental sports content costs associated with this popular programming," spokeswoman Heather Wilner told Multichannel News.

Unlike DIRECTV, Verizon plans to impose the fee in all markets while the satcaster only includes it in the bills of roughly 20 percent of its audience. But DIRECTV CEO Mike White said recently his company may expand that later this year.

Verizon this year announced another move to strike back at rising sports costs. The telco
launched a new non-sports package that includes 145 channels for $49.99 a month. By removing the sports channels from the package, such as ESPN, Verizon is able to keep the price of the monthly plan relatively low. The sports channels are among the most expensive in the industry, demanding high fees for their rights.


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