The Versus Petition

Here at RKP World HQ we pay for the questionable service of Time Warner. A great many of RKP’s readers have let us know that they are unwilling to endure them and instead subscribe to DirecTV. However, DirecTV isn’t carrying Versus, which is precisely why this household is willing to endure erroneous billing, service interruptions and impossible customer service. It seems a reasonable price to pay to make sure we get as much bike racing on TV as possible.

While there are an ever-increasing number of options for watching bike racing on TV, many folks would prefer to lounge on the couch with remote in hand. For all those of you who are DirecTV subscribers wishing they would carry Versus, the network has a petition to which you may add your name. Your voice could help encourage DirecTV to make bike racing available to hundreds of thousands of subscribers.



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    1. Author

      I think that Versus being picked up by DirecTV could serve as an impetus to draw customers away from other carriers such as Time Warner, so it seems to me to be fair game. Sign away.

  2. Robot

    Having completed that process, it appears targeted toward current DirecTV subscribers. The “letter” you sign essentially says you may jump DirecTV’s ship if they don’t show you Versus.

    But you know, I signed anyway, cause it made me feel better.

  3. Carl Johnson

    I’m really surprised by the characterization of Time Warner Cable. Where I am, they are the most customer-friendly company I deal with. Could they be cheaper? Sure. But man are they good at service — quick, helpful, thorough. I’ll count my blessings seeing as it’s apparently not the same elsewhere.

    1. Author

      Carl: I envy you. Life with TW is not much to my liking; the only reason I stay with them is because the other options strike me as worse.

  4. Marshdrifter

    As someone who uses a rabbit ear and not cable or satellite, I think Versus should allow for paid subscribers off their website. I’d pay a reasonable amount for a cycling package, if the races could be on-demand.

  5. dvgmacdonald

    Here in Madison, WI, I think we’ve got the worst of all possible worlds. I’m currently with DirecTV. When they got Universal Sports for a little while after they lost Vs. I actually thought it was a good thing. That lasted all of a month. I could get dish, but then I’d have to get the NHL package just to get the NHL network (which is free on DirecTV). That’s not a $300 investment each year that I’m itching to make. The local cable company (Charter) is so bad I didn’t last 3 months with them. AT&T’s U-Verse isn’t here yet (at least not where I live).

    There’s just no win. At least there’s still I’d mostly rather catch the races live & jittery with commentary that I don’t understand than on tape delay with pretty pictures and Paul & Phil anyway.

  6. JC

    Forget it. The hockey people couldn’t make it happen… and that’s a sport that had major network (ESPN, NBC) coverage and its own nightly wrap show. Far larger than cycling.

  7. Rick Vosper

    The problem with Versus is that it can’t decide whether it wants to be the Hooks & Bullets Channel or the Emerging Sports Channel. So we have our Tour coverage sandwiched between idiocy like Competitive Grilling With Billy Bob on the one hand and and Naked Blowgunning For Trophy Elk on the other.

    From the standpoint of my neighbors here in Arkansas, it’s the opposite problem: they’re just settling into the ol’ Barcalounger with a suitcase of Lone Star and suddenly there’s a bunch of skinny goldurn Eurofags in lycra on the tube…and sometimes entire *minutes* go by without saying anything about The Prophet Lance Armstrong, which the only point there is to their stupid girlyman sport.

    So DirecTV’s decision to drop Versus is not a referendum on cycling, it’s a referendum on Versus’ own suicidal schizophrenia; its utter inability to deliver a coherent product and, by extension, a coherent audience of followers (whom DirecTV can sell their services to).

    For every one of us who subscribe(d) to DirecTV just for Versus (and in my case the Fox Soccer Channel too, which just lost the EPL and Champion’s leagues and is in a disturbingly similar quandary) there’s a hundred lukewarm cycling fans who aren’t willing to pay for 12 months of a channel they only watch one month per year. Not to mention a zillion “Outdoors” enthusiasts who aren’t willing to pay for a channel that keeps getting interrupted by what is to them, utterly irrelevant content.

    My proposed solution FWIW, is to merge cycling, (nonEPL) soccer, and other predominantly European sports (speedskating, rugby, hurley, and Celtic or Aussie Rules football)into a single channel, possibly under the aegis of the very competent Fox Sports Network (not to be confused with the idiotic Fox News Network).

    1. Author

      Rick: As is typical of your thinking, your analysis is very clear-eyed and spot-on. I can’t think of another channel that has content that will grate on each of its core viewer groups. That they can frustrate hunters, cyclists and hockey fans with equal ease is something comic Bobby Slayton would admire.

      The question becomes, how do we find someone who has Fox’s ear to take up the cause?

  8. souleur

    Dish-network does still carry Vs. and will love for anyone to change over to it, if your not lock-stock-and barrel tied in contracturally. Just tell them why you change, and tell Direct also. I am not sure where their markets are, but in the midwest, its better than direct tv IMO. Money is the only thing that stings Direct-tv.

    The Vs channel is a real conundrum. The sad reality is that the business feasiblity of a cycling dominated or cycling only channel in the US is dim at best. Perhaps a Eurosport channel would fly here, or soccor/cycling/rugby/rally car etc. channel could though? I wonder why Eurosport isn’t an offering? In the meantime I simply have accomodated and watch most of the cycling coverage live streaming on the internet, I actually like that better anyway. One of these days, maybe there will be cycling only coverage…perhaps.

  9. hans

    Yes, what “Marshdrifter” said – I should be able to pay for it online at their site. I have gone Internet only and no cable – with a homemade DTV antenna, the OTA stations are nice! (NBC Universal sometimes has cycling OTA)

    I thought there was a site to buy a subscriptions for cycling events.. can’t… remember… just found it again –

    But they have a bit of a fudge factor on the Giro and Tour (perhaps not available), I will research that one.

    Comcast owns Versus, Comcast seems to have PPV stuff on their website. It would be great if there were more – quote:

    “Tour de France – Grab your helmet and get ready for cycling’s most prestigious and famed event, Tour de France, with historical recaps and next day recaps of this year’s event. Available from July 5 – 31. Find it On Demand in the “Sports and Fitness” folder under “Versus.””

    Hulu does have some Versus but its from last year – so that means there is hope for this year…?

    Current Versus Schedule

    I wish they would just put it all on Hulu and get it over with! Then there would be one place to watch and pay per show or subscription if that’s what is supposed to happen with Hulu.

    My fingers are crossed…

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  11. Big Mikey

    Man, I am feeling the pain. Moved to Canada recently, and no VS, it’s OLN, and the ONLY cycling is the TdF. No classics, no Giro, nothing. And no Universal through Canadian internet (geographic restrictions). The landscape is pretty barren here.

    So, from an outsiders viewpoint, wouldn’t you be better off trying to get Universal Sports on the local cable channel rather than VS on DirectTV? As has been pointed out, VS is crap, between the fishing and bull riding, it’s a failed experiment. Universal seems to have quite the idea, non-mainstream sports, and they seem to have the programming/announcing covered.

  12. George


    I think the main issue is that Comcast owns Versus and did not want to bargain with Directv. They own the station (Vs) and are always looking for a monopoly position ( as they have with local sports programming in Philadelphia) , so they just priced it too high for Directv’s budget. That gives them one more competitive advantage: if you want to watch cycling around phl you have one alternative….

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