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Dish vs. Fox Sports: Is There Hope?

Q. As a Dish subscriber, the loss of my Fox regional sports channel that shows my home teams here in Phoenix has become unbearable. The Suns season is coming up soon and I really, really want to watch them. Is there any hope at all that Dish will come to a deal with Fox Sports? — Frank, Phoenix. 

Frank, as you know, on July 26, both Dish and its live streaming service, Sling TV, lost 22 different Fox Sports regional channels (including your Fox Sports Arizona, which carries the games of the Phoenix Suns, Arizona Coyotes and Arizona Diamondbacks) due to a disagreement over how much they should pay Fox to carry them.

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Since the blackout began, the dispute has become more complicated because Sinclair Broadcasting now owns the Fox regional sports channels. (In August, the broadcaster purchased them from Disney, which previously purchased them in from Fox.) Sinclair and Dish have engaged in multiple carriage battles in the past and they are both known for playing hardball at the negotiating table.

In addition, Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has said publicly that it’s possible that his TV services will never carry the Fox regional sports channels again. That bleak forecast has been echoed by Dish and Sling customer service teams on Twitter and Facebook.

“We’re always willing to engage in proposals that are fair for our customers, but based on Sinclair’s offer, we haven’t reached a deal to bring FOX RSNs and YES back to Sling. At this time, we believe it’s unlikely that we will come to an agreement to restore this programming,”@slinganswers said on Twitter on October 6.

However, in the last week or so, the tone of the responses from Sling and Dish’s Twitter customer service teams has become more optimistic.

“Our team is working nonstop to get your channels back,” @Slinganswers wrote on October 10.

“We are working to reach a mutual agreement to restore the channels as soon as possible,” @Dishanswers tweeted yesterday.

Okay, I will acknowledge that this isn’t a major development. But it does offer some hope that Dish is more interested in a deal than it was perhaps a few weeks ago. The company is no longer suggesting the channels will never return.

So that is something. And, you did ask me if there’s some hope, right? Well, yes, there’s some hope. With the NHL season underway, and the NBA season starting in less than two weeks, it’s quite possible we will see a deal before month’s end.

That’s not a guarantee, of course. Just a hope.

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7 Comments on Dish vs. Fox Sports: Is There Hope?

  1. As we all know, since it’s been twelve long weeks since the Fox Sports RSNs have been on DISH, that hope is quickly slipping away, and the two sides are NOT anywhere closer to an agreement than they were on July 26. It will definitely get a lot worse before it gets any better. We are looking at least another 18-24 months before they are restored by DISH.

  2. Sports costs is at an all time high, and not everyone wants to pay the costs…. but because these RSN’s are in all packages except broadcast-only, all customers pay for them, even if they don’t watch sports. In the Los Angeles market with SportsNet lakers being valued at $5, the Dodgers at $5, the Angels per a report from 2012 at around $3, ESPN alone at $8 or so, and with 2 NHL, 2 NBA, 2 MLS and now 2 NFL teams too besides the 2 MLB teams, in addition to 2 PAC12 Universities and national sports networks…. sports in Los Angeles is estimated to cost any cable customer between $25 and $30 a month.

    Is that fair to the viewer that doesn’t want to pay that for sports but wants some other channels? If you are wondering why so millions of people are quitting cable, THIS is one of them. Sports costs have exploded beyond any reasonable amount, and the main reason is salaries. Players are receiving contracts sometimes worth over 100 million, and about 90% of a sports team revenue comes from 3 sources: 1) Ticket sales to the games. 2) Merchandise. 3) Broadcast rights. And every time a big shot player gets on the team (whatever sport it is) for millions and millions of dollars, the tickets get more expensive, the jerseys go up in price, and the broadcast rights shoot up, which eventually comes down to you, the customer, paying for it. And as said, since literally millions of people are leaving cable each year now because they are fed up with it, those who remain because of sports can expect to pay a LOT more….

    Switching doesn’t help, because as soon as you do Dish may make a deal, and whatever provider you just signed up with will have a similar dispute next year. Or sooner.

    What I do know is this. The person asking this question, along with all other Dish subscribers, will get a nice Christmas Present in the form of a price hike for their Dish service, in order to keep paying for these sports networks, as well as broadcast networks who are the other main channels asking for obscene amounts of money.

    Sports needs to be completely separated into its own packages, so those who want it, pay for it, and those who do not are not subjected to the insane amounts of money it costs to broadcast it.

    • Maarten,
      EXCELLENT Information.
      I have also said this before.

      Phillip,
      WHY won’t the Cable and Satellite companies listen to us ?
      You would think the Rocket Scientists who run these outfits would see this easy FIX
      WHY do they like to keep loosing customers ?

      Look at Joe’s comment. Just PLAIN COMMON SENSE
      Have SEPARATE Packages !!

      Sports needs to be completely separated into its own packages, so those who want it, pay for it, and those who do not are not subjected to the insane amounts of money it costs to broadcast it

  3. In UK, AUS, NZ, etc sports is it it’s own add on package

  4. To everyone who complains about the cost of Sports packages, those of us who watch them also subsidize dozens of channels we dont watch either. It works both ways. I could not care less for Lifetime, Hallmark, E!, HGTV, DIY and the list is extensive. I agree that there needs to be a base package that includes sports like ESPN, FS1, etc. That’s why for those who want more, we do pay for the Sports pack add on at an extra fee. The RSN system is broken and only by saying no will things begin to realign, but when DirecTV just reached an agreement with the RSN as well as adding the new Chicago Cubs station, there is no stopping it. And if everyone who wants the extra Sports stations actually left Dish, it would go under. Not everyone who wants those stations left.

  5. If sports is its own package does that mean I’m going to be forced to buy the crap channels like TLC, HGTV, DIY, Lifetime, Hallmark, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, History, Vice, MTV, CMT, Univision, WGN, Freeform, Game Show Network, and god knows what other channels I never have watched and never will? Can I just subscribe to sports channels for $25 or $30 like Marteen suggests and not have anything else?

    If the answer is no, then stfu about sports being a flex package. I do agree that sports channels are expensive, but they’re also just a part of a larger package of channels that I (and several other sports fans) don’t watch but still forced to pay for. These cable bills don’t go up to $70-80 on sports alone.

    I’m still on dish even though I missed a large portion of my Texas Rangers this year due to the contract negotiations. I was able to find some of the games online through Reddit but it was a huge pain to actually make it work like I liked. Doesn’t help that my internet speeds aren’t great. But come the start of the 2020 season I think we will have a definite answer of when or if these channels are coming back. And if not, I’m headed to directv.

  6. Joanne Slagle // November 4, 2019 at 10:52 am // Reply

    Let’s hope FSAZ gets back to Dish SOON! I am close to looking @ other options! I have been a customer for 20 years! I get a call from Dish~asking me to sign up for Starz! Are you kidding??? Seriously?? Come on~you will be losing more customers! Let’s get FSAZ back on~I am paying for it! My Dish bill has increased~still no FSAZ! By the way, I am a long time Phoenix Suns fan! 🏀🏀

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