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Malone Backs DIRECTV On Sports Fees
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (November 20, 2012) -- John Malone, the former chairman of DIRECTV who still owns a three percent stake in the satellite TV service, agrees with his old company that  the rising cost of acquiring sports programming is out of control.

"
We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports," Malone said in an interview with The Los Angeles Times. "The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the (TV provider)."

Malone was referring to companies such as Disney, which owns ESPN, and News Corp. and Comcast, both of which have regional sports channels. These companies recently have paid more for the rights to sports channels and thus are demanding more money from TV providers, such as DIRECTV, to carry them.

DIRECTV, Malone's former company, has been vocal in pushing for government intervention in fee fights between TV providers and sports programmers and other programmers. Malone, now the chairman of Liberty Media, came to his old company's aid by agreeing that the government may need to get involved to reduce costs for both the TV provider and consumers.

"The only way it is going to change in the short run is for government to intervene," Malone told the newspaper.

Malone's Liberty Media owns the premium channels Starz and Encore, which sometimes gets involved in fee disputes with TV providers over carriage fees. However, Malone did not say if he supported government intervention in those fee fights.



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