Cable and satellite television providers are fighting back against the ballooning costs of sports programming with new evidence, gleaned from set-top boxes, that sports audiences outside of football and a few big events are relatively small when compared with the cost of the programming. DIRECTV and AT&T, for example, opted not to carry the regional sports network CSN Houston, citing low interest among viewers. Sports network executives argue that their programming is more valuable because, in an era of DVR and streaming, it is almost always watched live.

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