DIRECTV this weekend could lose all Fox Sports programming due to a carriage dispute between the companies. The blackout, which would also affect DIRECTV Stream and U-verse subscribers, would include the Fox-owned network affiliates in 18 markets, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Deportes, and Fox Soccer Plus.
Fox has launched a web site, KeepFox.com, that says the three DIRECTV-owned TV services could lose the Fox channels at midnight on December 2.
“Fox remains committed to reaching a fair agreement with DIRECTV for the continued distribution of our networks,” the site states. “Despite our best efforts for months, we regret that DIRECTV continues to demand unprecedented special treatment that represents a wholesale change to our long-standing relationship and is out of step with marketplace terms.
The statement continues: “As such we are compelled to alert viewers who are DIRECTV, DIRECTV Stream and U-Verse subscribers that they could lose access to their favorite FOX programming beginning at midnight, December 2, including the NFL on FOX, the Big Ten College Football Championship on FOX, the FIFA World Cup™ on FOX and FS1, FOX local news, and more. While FOX continues to seek an agreement benefiting all parties, our priority is ensuring viewers’ ability to access all FOX Sports, FOX Entertainment and local FOX station programming.”
The fee fight does not include the Fox News Channel, Fox Business, or Fox network affiliates that are not owned by Fox. Click here to see a list of the Fox-owned network affiliates.
DIRECTV this afternoon released this statement to The TV Answer Man in response to the Keep Fox web site:
“At this point, any interruption of Fox programming depends solely on Fox alone. DIRECTV has no intention to remove any Fox content. The best way for everyone to “Keep Fox” is for Fox to keep making it available themselves. We’re working hard to reach an agreement to renew these Fox stations and national sports channels so customers can continue to enjoy them at a strong value. Based on our excellent track record with Fox, we’re confident we’ll come to terms ahead of any potential disruption. In fact, we’ve renewed nearly 200 local FOX stations much like these over the last few years.
The DIRECTV statement continues: “Unfortunately, the same old, tired programmer scare tactics of putting customers into the middle of contract renewals tend to die hard. Fox invented this tactic back at the turn of the century, and has a long, long history of aggravating consumers to help try to boost their guaranteed rates, while most renewals are typically resolved without any interruptions. Just last month, Fox alerted Altice USA customers, only to settle without removing signals, while the same is true of other recent Fox renewals with Roku and the National Cable Television Cooperative, among others.”
Any disruption of Fox on DIRECTV (and DIRECTV Stream and U-verse) would come at a particularly bad time with the network broadcasting the final weeks of the NFL season, college football conference title games, and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The TV Answer Man will monitor this development and report back here if anything significant changes.
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— Phillip Swann