Monday, December 10, 2012

Rising Cable Sports Fees Could Lead To Fed Intervention

Michael Powell, a former chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and now the cable industry's top lobbyist, warned that if the cost of sports programming continues to rise it could lead to government intervention.

"We all ought to wake up and be careful ... so we don't blow this into smithereens at some point and invite the government to do it for you, which I think nobody would be a winner in," Powell said in an interview this week on C-SPAN's "The Communicators,"  according to Joe Flint at

Powell, who chaired the FCC from 2001 to 2005, is now the head of the National Cable & Telecommunications Assn., the lobbying arm of the cable industry.

The last decade has seen a dramatic increase in the fees broadcast and cable channels pay for television rights for sports. Many of those costs are ultimately passed on to pay-TV subscribers.

Citing ESPN's new deal to keep "Monday Night Football," Powell said, "I can't control that the NFL has the power to demand a 73% increase for 'Monday Night Football,' which I find astonishingly insane." Powell said he wonders if there is a point where distributors say, "I can't handle it anymore."

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ALSO READ: Cable subscribers are about to get a sneaky fee. Click Here

Tom's Take: When will Joe6Park says "I can't handle it anymore"?

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