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Wyoming Senators Mike Enzi and John Barrasso, along with Utah Senator Orrin Hatch and others are encouraging TV executives to work out their differences so they can provide the programming Wyoming sports fans are hungry for.

Enzi and Barrasso have heard from constituents, especially those in rural areas, who complain that they are unable to follow UW sports and other teams in the Mountain West.  The senators signed the following letter in hopes it would help break the logjam over broadcast disputes.

                                                           September 25, 2007 


 Dear Sirs:

We would like to take this opportunity to write today to express our concern regarding the ongoing impasse that has prevented access to the Mountain West Sports Network through the satellite services offered by DirecTV and DISH Network. 

 This issue has been a matter of substantial controversy among the fans of the teams in the Mountain West Conference as the failure to reach an agreement has left many viewers without access to this widely anticipated and popular sports programming.  As you know, many of the universities in the Mountain West Conference are marquee schools located in the Intermountain West with student populations drawn from all over the United States. Also, these schools’ alumni live in all areas of the country, many of them far outside the regions where the network has been made available.  Many of the potential viewers in the Intermountain West live in rural and mountainous areas where only satellite television is available.

As you might expect, our constituents have contacted us to express their concerns about their inability to access this programming. We anticipate that, with the  progression of the college football season, which will be followed immediately by the basketball season, our constituents’ desire to view Mountain West Conference games will only intensify.

Despite some claims to the contrary, it is  appears that the hurdles preventing an agreement are not technical in nature. Indeed, other conferences and providers have been able to make programming arrangements that have made games and other programming available through both cable and satellite outlets. We strongly believe that, when it comes to programming conflicts, the interests of consumers should be the foremost concern. Toward that end, we urge all of the parties involved in this dispute to work together to ensure that Mountain West Conference games and events are broadcast to the widest possible audience. 

Clearly, both cable and satellite providers have to make programming decisions with their business interests in mind.  However, if all interested parties would be willing to make appropriate concessions, we believe that there are a number of readily available solutions to this conflict. As Senators from the states represented in the Mountain West Conference, we continue to be supportive of public policies that allow both cable and satellite vendors to maximize program content for their customers.  That being the case, we believe each of the entities involved in this dispute share the responsibility to provide access to program content to as many consumers as possible.

We look forward to assisting you in any appropriate manner to facilitate a swift conclusion to your negotiations. We look forward to seeing Mountain West Sports Network achieving the goal of nationwide access.



Senators:   Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah

                 Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah

                  Michael B. Enzi, R-Wyo.

                  John Barrasso, R-Wyo.

                  John Ensign, R-Nev.

                  Pete V. Domenici, R-N.M.

                  Wayne Allard, R-Colo.