Dish last night lost the local CBS affiliate (WINK-TV) in Fort Myers, Florida due to a carriage dispute with its owner, Fort Myers Broadcasting.
The fee fight comes with CBS scheduled today to broadcast Super Bowl 55 between the Kansas City Chiefs and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
“Fort Myers Broadcasting tonight removed WINK-TV, a local CBS station in southwest Florida, rejecting DISH’s calls for a contract extension. Instead, the station owner chose to take this station away from DISH customers, blocking thousands of Floridians from tuning in to Super Bowl LV tomorrow afternoon,” Dish said in a press release.
The broadcaster pointed the finger of blame at the satellite TV service, which has frequently engaged in carriage disputes that have led to channel blackouts.
“Dish Network is responsible for most of the television service disruptions in the United States. WINK has successfully negotiated carriage agreements with all other satellite and cable company in Southwest Florida and have offered to settle with DISH on similar terms negotiated with other television providers,” Fort Myers Broadcasting said in a notice posted at the WINK web site.
Dish noted that WINK viewers can still watch the Super Bowl for free on the CBS Sports apps or with a CBS All Access subscription, which costs $5.99 a month. (There is a 7-day free trial.) They also could install an indoor or outdoor antenna to watch the game over-the-air for free.
However, it should be noted that some residents have limited access to the Internet, or slow Internet connections, which makes streaming difficult or impossible. In addition, some people live in areas where antennas have difficulty picking up the signals of local channels.
WINK-TV serves Fort Myers, Naples and Cape Coral, Florida, among other smaller communities in southwest Florida.
AT&T, which owns DIRECTV, Dish’s longtime rival, is also engaged in a carriage dispute this weekend, leaving viewers of five CBS affiliates searching for Super Bowl viewing alternatives.
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— Phillip Swann