The six-week-long dispute between Dish and NFL has come to close now, and Dish has made a new multi- year carriage agreement with NFL Network and NFL Redzone channels. Dish representatives said in a press release that they have added the National Football League-owned sports channels, NFL Network and NFL Redzone back to their satellite-TV service and the channels will be available on their online video service Sling TV before NFL season as well. Pricing of NFL Network and NFL RedZone on Sling TV will be released shortly.
The decision to get back the NFL channels by Dish is not surprising, as the airing of exhibition games will begin this month. Dish has lost a lot of customers due to blackouts in different channels because of recurring fee fights. Dish dropped NFL network on July 16, when the two sides could not come to an agreement over the distribution fees. NFL said that in its 13-year history, it was the first time that a TV provider discontinued their channels.
Dispute With Tribune
Dish Network is also in a battle with Tribune Media Co over the carriage fees for Tribune-owned stations and cable network WGN America. In that matter, nearly 5 million subscribers lost access to 42 channels and WGN America. However, Dish provided free antennas to its customers to watch Tribune channels, and is trying for an arbitration with Tribune to restore the channels. Tribune, on the other hand, suggested that the contract discussion between the two parties should be monitored by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission.
“Our contract with NFL Network has expired. We remain open to a fair offer that allows us to carry this content at an appropriate value to our customers, Dish said in a statement. Warren Schlichting, Dish’s executive vice president of programming said that, “Regrettably, we can only interpret Tribune’s unwillingness to participate in binding arbitration as an indication that it actually is angling for rates that are above fair market.” Tribune however, said that it is offering Dish the same rate as that they charge for other TV partners.
Dish has also sued Tribune saying that they broke the law with deceptive ads. The company has asked for compensation for “damaging their goodwill and reputation,” but Tribune said that their charges are “baseless” and will “respond to it in court.”