Q. I am tired, very tired of the blackout of my Fox sports channel on Dish. Do you think it will come back soon? Do you think Dish and Fox are close to getting this over with? I want my Brewers back! — Reg, Milwaukee.
Reg, on July 26, both Dish and its live streaming service, Sling TV, lost 22 different Fox Sports regional channels (including your Fox Sports Wisconsin, which carries the Milwaukee Brewers games) due to a disagreement over how much they should pay Fox to carry them.
The blackout has sports fans irate because 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.)
When the dispute began, I predicted that Dish would not get serious about renegotiating a new agreement until September when viewership traditionally rises. (August is a vacation period for many consumers who consequently watch less television during the month.)
The satellite TV service is keen on reducing its programming spending. Therefore, it was willing to trade some subscriber defections for an entire month of not paying for the regional sports channels. It’s that simple.
But now it’s September. School’s back. Vacation is over. And TV viewership will go up. If the Fox Sports blackout continues much longer, more and more Dish and Sling subscribers will drop their service.
So I think it’s highly possible that talks between Dish and Sinclair, the new owner of the Fox Sports channels, will intensify this week. And who knows? Maybe they will even reach an agreement.
It’s more likely the dispute will stretch into the middle of the month. These negotiations are never simple. But I’m hopeful that we’re closer now than we were even a week ago.
Reg, hope that helps. Happy viewing!
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— Phillip Swann
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