Liberty Chairman John Malone: 'Consumer Is Getting Squeezed' by Escalating Sports Costs LA Times

Sports programming costs are out of control, Liberty Media Chairman John Malone tells the Los Angeles Times' Company Town blog.

"We’ve got runaway sports rights, runaway sports salaries and what is essentially a high tax on a lot of households that don’t have a lot of interest in sports," Malone said. "The consumer is really getting squeezed, as is the cable operator."

Some estimates peg sports programming as accounting for half of a typical pay-TV bill, the story notes.

Malone said he believes regulators or Congress should step in.

"The only way it is going to change in the short run is for government to intervene," he said. He added that one solution would be for expensive services such as ESPN to be sold on an a la carte basis.

ESPN costs more than $5 per subscriber, according to SNL Kagan.

Technology might also help, Malone said. Services such as Netflix and Hulu will add to their content, giving consumers more choices beyond pay TV. "People will watch and pay for what they want -- it is kind of inevitable," he said. "I can’t forecast the future but usually markets have a way of correcting themselves."