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

  1. 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.

    • They don’t consider the fans at all. I started Dish so I could see the Cardinals and this is a very bad decision by both sides. I stream most shows and one of the only times my tv is on is when the Cardinals were on the air.

    • Goodbye Dish. first HBO, then FoxSports and now Fox local channels, which is the deal breaker for me.

  2. 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!

  3. 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.

  4. 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!

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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

  10. 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.

  11. Jack JACKSON // August 22, 2019 at 7:27 pm // Reply

    Dish has the attitude that they will settle in September and all will be forgotten. History proves them right. The end of season races and playoff excitement will replace the anger. People will hyperventilate for awhile and then move on, me included.

  12. Henry Wertz // August 23, 2019 at 1:23 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.”
    It’s Disney’s fault; they bought Fox Sports and are now spinning it off to Sinclair. For whatever reason, Disney retains authority to negotiate channel pricing even though it’s transferring to Sinclair imminently; they are asking unreasonable prices (over $7 a month for *1* regional channel alone!). I don’t know why Sinclair doesn’t step in and tell them to be reasonable.

    That said — the “slow viewer time is in August” is simply not true for the sports networks — the Cardinals are EXCLUSIVELY on these fox sports channels, and the games are on now. I’ve shown my parents how to play pirated streams instead, so (most likely) nobody will EVER get money again from them for these games.

    • Here is why I have no confidence that Dish will settle the Fox Sports issue. Remember way back when HBO and Cinemax disappeared from the Dish Network. Guess what they never came back and you never heard anything about it again. In my case since I didn’t include HBO and MAX in my package so it wasn’t the end of the world.

      However, it’s the principal of the thing–what about the people that paid for HBO & MAX and now yes we’re still paying for Fox Sports in our package.

  13. So let me see if I understand this debacle. Disney owns fox sports and fox sports south and they are asking Dish for more money to carry these channels…really! Disney needs more money…really! Disney has more money than God and they want more…really! Then there’s Dish, who has almost as much money as God and they refuse to pay…really! What ever happened to customer service? Come on you two greedy moguls, get together and agree on something. I paid for a service package and it’s being taken away. Do I get a discounted price for less channels…hell no! Ridiculous…!!!

  14. JOHN BLAKENEY // August 29, 2019 at 9:16 am // Reply

    I too am in my 15th month of a two year contract with Dish. I researched as to which service I wanted not only for my home, but more importantly to take on the road for my RV. So not only am I in a contract, but have spent a moderate sum of money for Dish equipment that does not work for different providers. Quit being so greedy and stand by your agreement. I want my college football and NHL. Quit holding us hostage or pay me for my investment so I can get the other providers.J

  15. So what are our other options? Does anyone know a good streaming service they can recommend, preferably FREE as we are still paying for DISH, the bastards.

    Disgraceful. We only got DISH to watch our local sports. FoxSPorts Az and San Diego (both markets are blacked out for us even on MLB Extra Innings package so there is no way to see the games)..

    So again, does anyone know how to get FREE streaming for these games? I don’t care if it’s legal or not at this point!.

  16. After 15 years with Directv they cut channel 11. So we changed to Dish. After they installed it, that night we tried to get the Rangers. Finally called only to find out about the problem. Now under contract. I tell everyone how they get you in and then you have no choice.

    • YouTube tv is awesome! All the local channels, all the ESPN channels, all the fox sports channels, CBS sports, Disney, and tons of movies. You can record anything you want just like you do with dish’s hopper. You can rewind and fast forward through recorded commercials. All this for a flat $49.99 – no contract! And no I am not being paid by YouTube or been given anything from them. I’m just fed up with paying $$$$ for tv that gone out when the clouds behind the sun. It can be coming a storm and it doesn’t affect us one bit!

      • Just know that YouTube TV subscribers can no longer watch ESPN3 content. ESPN3 is a streaming service that carries many smaller college games. It’s like ESPN+ (their monthly subscription service) but is free if your provider has access to it. YouTube TV used to, but not anymore. Content on ESPN3 is different than the content that’s on their normal broadcast stations like ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU. It’s also different content from ESPN+

  17. Yeah look for MLB streams. Won’t give specific sites but google will. My parents switched from directv to dish becaude dtv had a dispute with the local fox affiliate and they were going to miss ONE cardinals game. They got that game, then all of ZERO games off fox sports midwest before it was dropped. 1) the sites hosting these may have legal problems, but the user streaming doesn’t, since they are not the one sending out the video stream. 2) they’re paying for these channels (well 3 months free…) so really it’s mlb and whoever owns foxsmw’s loss that they can’t agree to take the money and provide the games.

  18. 25 year dish subscriber, switched to Hulu as if no baseball that I (was) paying for, and no refund or reduction in subscription price, then no Dish. And guns what I am getting same channels and including my baseball – for $100 less per month.
    Dish needs to consider customers – if they had told me, that due to increase in carriage fee means that I have to pay $5 more per month for baseball, I would have, but they instead decided to black me out. Gave me no choice – so I gave them no choice.

  19. Isabel Monreal // September 10, 2019 at 6:00 pm // Reply

    I am so frustrated. I miss not being able to watch the Brewers. Get off your high horse. It’s time to settle the contract. Too many loyal customers are missing out on there favorite teams.

  20. Mark Gruetzmacher // September 15, 2019 at 6:43 pm // Reply

    I feel that maybe we should boycott Professional sports PERIOD… The GLADIATORS are now making the decisions and it has become too expensive to enjoy anymore. STOP BUYING “HATS, TEESHIRTS, AND JERSEYS….TIME TO BOYCOTT

  21. Phylis Germain // September 22, 2019 at 2:35 pm // Reply

    I am tired of not seeing the Milwaukee Brewers run for the wild card playoff.

  22. Lois Masouris // September 22, 2019 at 3:01 pm // Reply

    Greed pure greed,
    Senior citizens sports fans have few entertainment options. We love our sports! One football game available today is sad. Is there anyone who considers anyone but himself? Life certainly was differect 60 years ago.
    Fox, Dish, get over yourself!
    Dish execs are laughing all the way to the bank on subscribers backs.

  23. Just like to point out, MLB is really screwing themselves. Already when I was in college (in 2000), the people my age were not willing to pay for dish or cable, so when the Cardinals moved their games to whatever Fox Sports Midwest was called then ( I think Roots Sports?), Guess what? They didn’t decide to be Cubs fans instead, they are not satisfied watching maybe 1 game a month (if it’s not on when they are in class!), they did not decide to pay the big bucks for sports packages, and they for damn sure didn’t pay the big bucks for (who have the nerve to charge like $115 a season then tell these paying customers their games are blacked out and they must watch them after they’ve finished). They simply decided they don’t care about baseball any more. MLB has lost these younger people forever (not that young any more, basically people under 40 if not 45 or 50.)

    So, they already alienating and lost their younger fans then, never to be seen again… and now they are alienating their remaining older viewers (I’m quite sure MLB could lean hard on Disney to get them to quit asking unreasonable fees for these sports channels — which they aren’t keeping anyway, since the sports channels are going to Sinclair Broadcasting.)

  24. Robert Butler // September 26, 2019 at 7:41 am // Reply

    We have been loyal “Dish” customers for 15 years and this is the thanks we get, their message on the T.V. is disgusting, it is like “too bad, not our fault”. In our case it was not too bad because we don’t miss the “Detroit Tigers” but now the NHL is starting up and we look forward to the “Red Wings”. This is disgusting, at least they could tell us they are working on the problem or something rather than just some jerk saying “Not our problem”

  25. I have been with dish for over 15 years and now when the Kansas city Chiefs have a great football team and a MVP quarter back they are going to blackout the game screw all these cock suckers I will just drop them all and stream it.

  26. Both ” big shots, who make these decisions” need their asses kicked!


  28. We have been a Dish customer for almost 20 years. They have lost the LA Lakers and, Dodgers a few years ago, recently HBO and now the Angels and soon the Clippers due to Charlie Ergen’s poor negotiation tactics. Two days ago, we lost 6 more channels! The only time our account received a credit was for HBO. When I contacted Dish and complained, the astonishing response was “We will credit your account with a one-time amount of $3.00.” Meanwhile, Dish is pocketing what they are not paying out to the providers of the dropped channels. This is totally unacceptable and, if not resolved immediately, we will have no choice but to leave Dish!!

  29. Now they’ve removed the BIG 10 channels!!

  30. What the heck am I paying $95 per month for? No more fox sports az for last 2 months…now no more fox sports, fox 10 the local Phx channel.
    I give them 1 week after being a loyal dish customer for 10 plus years!

  31. Return the Fox sports channels and BTN or refund our monthly fees. You broke our contract, so we have no obligation to pay for channels that we are not receiving. Just stop credit card payments and go to another tv. company or Hulu.

  32. ok people why don’t we blame fox for the issue. fox local is free over the air waves. FREE! I get that a lot of people do not have the box to get the free I don’t have it either. So why are they (FOX) allowed to charge dish/direct or cable to provide their service that again is suppose to be free. I am not loyal to any particular service provider however why should I have to pay more for something that is again FREE and because dish does not want to pay more FOX has pulled their channels. Just a thought.

  33. Robert Butler // October 1, 2019 at 6:40 am // Reply

    This is a very good point, “FOX” has managed to keep themselves above the fray, why are they not commenting.

  34. Dish showed me yesterday that as a company they don’t care. I ended up speaking to 3 different individuals because it has to be so painful to quit them… Backstory, we’ve been with Dish for more than 15 years, they have taken this or that but I was in the wrong as it didn’t effect me, until last Thursday. Dish pulled the plug on Fox Sports just before the second race of the 6 race countdown, bye bye. Luckily for them they can change the rules at anytime as I was told per their “contract” but that shoe doesn’t fit for the customer.

  35. mick weaver // October 2, 2019 at 5:29 pm // Reply

    As a senior citizen I like to watch the BTN volleyball,football and all sports. Feel both sides need to put their big boy pants on and get this settled now. It is BS what we pay to watch programs they take off to fill their pockets.

  36. Elaien Murphy // October 2, 2019 at 11:31 pm // Reply

    This is totally a money/bottom line issue and the costumers are the ones left holding the bag and get screwed. Time to grow up, settle the issue and put the channels back !!!!

  37. It appears that Fox and Dish networks have gone together so that they both can raise her prices to their customers

  38. If you have been with DISH less than 2 years you can get out by simply telling them they broke the contract with you by not providing you with the content you are currently paying for. The regional Fox channels are part of a sports bundle you purchase separately. FS1&2 are par of one of their premium packages, so too is Big 10 Network, I think, so you are being charged for services you can’t watch…

  39. Gary Parrish // October 14, 2019 at 4:50 pm // Reply

    Dish tv lies to me and said that they have fsi. It’s my Pacers channel. Come to find out they don’t. I want out of this context or give me Pacers league pass for free. VERY UPSET CUSTOMER

  40. Robert Butler // October 19, 2019 at 4:10 pm // Reply

    I am getting very, very upset with this blackout, they told me they were giving me some sports package, but it turned out the “NHL games” were mostly blacked out, definitely the local regional network. Everytime we turn on the channel to check, the have some jerk Mr. Schliting blabbering about “Fox” and blaming them for everything, ignoring that it takes 2 to tango. We live in a area that is very restricted for service, it’s “Dish” or “Direct TV” I will remember this for a long time.

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