Contact sports: DirecTV, AT&T may not get Padres telecasts

Despite what the FCC has said, DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV), AT&T (NYSE: T) and possibly other non-Cox service providers in the San Diego area may be shut out of broadcasting this season's Padres baseball games thanks to an ongoing programming dispute with Cox Communications.

Cox signed a 10-year agreement with the Padres to broadcast its games on Cox Channel 4 in 2001 and since then has used a terrestrial loophole to prohibit other service providers--except, of course, non-competing cable operator Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC-WI) broadcast the games.

Last year the FCC told the cable operator to step off and open up the games. Now, according to SignOn San Diego, Cox is doing something of the sort but is demanding so much money to carry the games that the other service providers are demurring. The FCC, being the FCC, didn't bother to put a price limit on compensation so that opened yet another can of sports worms.

For more:
- SignOn San Diego has this story

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