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Dish vs. Fox Sports: When Will It End?

Q. You’ve been writing about when some of these channel blackouts will end. What about Dish and Fox Sports? When will we get our sports channels back? — Wayne, Phoenix.

Wayne, on July 26, both Dish and its live streaming service, Sling TV, lost 22 different Fox Sports regional channels (including your Fox Sports Arizona) due to a disagreement over how much they should pay Fox to carry them.

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The Fox Sports regionals have the exclusive rights to carry the local broadcasts of dozens of professional teams. (You can see the list of affected channels here.) So the dispute has left many sports fans irate.

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I wrote here last week that Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has suggested that his services may never carry the Fox sports channels again. Ergen says Fox, and other sports programmers, are demanding higher and higher fees and his company can no longer afford to pay them.

But I don’t believe Ergen is serious about that threat. The Dish executive has a history of saying his TV services may never carry a channel again during a carriage dispute. However, in nearly every case, the channel returns to the Dish (and Sling TV) lineups when the two sides find common ground.

In my analysis of the carriage battles between DIRECTV and CBS, and Nexstar, I noted here this week that it’s not likely that either will be resolved this month. August is a notoriously slow month in the television business as viewers squeeze in last-minute vacations before school resumes in September. Consequently, the pressure on both the programmer and pay TV provider is considerably less than what it would be during a traditionally high-viewing period, such as September.

Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley said much the same yesterday in a conference call with financial analysts following the company’s release of its second quarter report. (Sinclair is in process of completing the purchase of the Fox Sports regional channels for $10.6 billion.)

“It’s certainly a time of year when there’s a lack of active programming on broadcast. So it’s a — there is a time — a good time to go dark. It’s certainly this time of year. That changes in short order here in a few weeks,” Ripley said, according to a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha.

So I think that talks between Dish and Fox Sports will heat up in early September, although a deal may not occur until later in the month or October when the NBA and NHL seasons begin.

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11 Comments on Dish vs. Fox Sports: When Will It End?

  1. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: Chuck Ergen has got to go. He’s as bad as President Trump.

  2. Ronald Hardin // August 11, 2019 at 2:55 pm // Reply

    I selected DISH as my TV service 1 year ago and being able to watch St Louis Cardinal baseball was a major consideration. I signed a 2 year contract for service and I feel like they have breached that contract by removing sports programming that they said was included. I will move my service, perhaps just go streaming, and be done with this crap.

  3. Nancy wertz // August 12, 2019 at 2:31 pm // Reply

    I also verified the Cards games would be available. We are not being charged for the sports package for three months, Aug, Sept, and Oct. Call and complain!

  4. Gloria Wilson // August 12, 2019 at 4:14 pm // Reply

    We chose Dish Network to watch Atlanta Braves and the SEC Network for football games.
    That’s 99% of our viewing. Now they have dropped them all! Needless to say, we are not satisfied with Dish.

  5. Bobby G Johnson // August 13, 2019 at 9:33 am // Reply

    I will be moving to another state in a few weeks and will employ another TV provider. My 2 year contract is way past the two years and am free to do so. At 80+ years of age and having followed the Braves and the SEC sports for many years, I deserve to receive the coverage for which I am paying. When I contacted Dish and complained the response was “We will credit your account with $3. What a slap in the face!

  6. Jeffrey Braun // August 15, 2019 at 3:43 pm // Reply

    It’s the paying customer that gets squeezed in the middle of these pretentious CEO’s at Dish and Fox Sports (i.e. clowns to the left – jokers to the right… here we are…stuck in the middle of doo) Indeed, as they sword-fight one another – with their custom-fitted Callaway 4-irons, no less! Yet, we’re still paying for item that they pulled from us? Though the AZ D’backs are in the midst of a roller coaster, ho-hum .500 season… I still enjoy watching their games….as part of the Dish package I’m paying for. That’s ok… because this is the straw for me and many others come September. I’ve had Dish Network just over 10yrs now…. Obviously, the time has come to waive goodbye to their stodgy ways.

  7. Sharron Rittmeyer // August 16, 2019 at 7:17 pm // Reply

    I’m really sorry I have dish. They won’t settle with fox sports Wisconsin. Dish claims it’s fox sports fault and FOXN blames dish. Who do you believe. It might be time to start looking for another provider.

  8. I am starting to watch the game cast of the St. Louis Cardinals on my laptop. I am starting to think that this may be the way to go. I believe I may just drop DISH and tell FOXsports where to go also. It would save me $150.00 per month. In the end it is the customers that get shafted while DISH and Fox sports reap profits.

  9. Bobby Johnson // August 17, 2019 at 3:33 pm // Reply

    I would like to see the CEO’s of both companies denied the use of their large pleasure boats, limo”s and beach houses while still paying for the use of them. Maybe after weeks of not knowing when they would regain the use of them they would understand what it is like to pay for something they are not getting. I want to watch the Braves games.

  10. Jennifer Ganter // August 19, 2019 at 12:34 pm // Reply

    This is ridiculous! Take a cut in pay and see if you notice something missing you were really liking have taken away. Bring back the channels or make a permanent cut in the billing. Give the existing customer the same billing you do new customers. About to cut the whole Dish network off

  11. Ralph E Rich // August 20, 2019 at 2:41 pm // Reply

    We need baseball back now. We don’t want it in September or October. We all need price cuts since we are not getting what we were suppose to be getting. If this is not worked out soon, I would ask all customers to avoid ever getting internet from Dish which is what they really are focused on in the future. If they will leave us hanging on this, they could do it again with the internet. This is no way to do business, they never kept us updated, and then just forgot about us.

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