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Latest Satellite News Discussion, Update DirecTVs new structure will focus on sports at General Satellite News forum; DirecTVs new structure will focus on sports Chris Forrester North America is very different from Europe in its taste for ...

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Thumbs up Update DirecTVs new structure will focus on sports - 12-May-2009, 13:20

DirecTVs new structure will focus on sports

Chris Forrester

North America is very different from Europe in its taste for sport. Europe loves soccer, and while North America also has soccer, it is a minority sport for fans and TV compared to football (professional and college), baseball, basketball, NASCAR and golf in no particular order. Hence John Malones decision to see his revamped DirecTV focus on sport should come as no surprise.

Liberty Media owns 54% of DirecTV, and will roll its Liberty Entertainment interests into a new business (also to be initially called Liberty Ent.) which will contain Libertys important regional sports networks, each of them rich with local sports, as well as its Game Show Network (35% owned with Sony) and the FUN network. At the end of the exercise this bundle of assets will be merged with DirecTV and renamed DirecTV. Confusing? This is quite normal, given that were dealing with one of Malones frequently complicated restructurings.

Chase Carey, CEO at DirecTV, said the new package allows DirecTV to make a bigger push into sports. Given our focus on sports, the importance of sports for us, we really do believe and are excited about the opportunity to work with them and build that business, Carey said, adding that GSN also presents tremendous upside.

The position at the end of the day, however, will see Malones voting interest in the new security drop from todays 33% to 24% of the new business. Analysts expect the financial manoeuvres to wrap by Q4 this year.

Outside of this deal theres still Malones other entertainment business: Liberty Starz (as it will be called) with Starz, a 37% stake in Wild Blue, PicksPal and Fan.


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