Dish customers lose Fox sports channels amid carriage dispute

Subscribers to US pay-television provider Dish Network and its OTT subsidiary Sling TV have lost access to Fox’s sports channels amid a carriage dispute with the network.

Dish said the blackout, which comes after it failed to reach a new carriage agreement with Fox, has affected 17 markets, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

The outage covers the FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes channels, meaning some subscribers will not receive access to NFL and college American football coverage.

In a statement released yesterday (Thursday), Dish said that Fox is demanding a “double-digit percentage rate increase” for continued coverage of its local channels. Dish added that Fox is attempting to “force bundle” its local channels and unrelated cable networks in a move to get more money and gain negotiating leverage.

Andy LeCuyer, Dish’s senior vice-president of programming, said: “Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It’s clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers.

“To add insult to injury, Fox pulled its channels right as viewers head into the heart of the NFL and college football season. We ask Fox to stop punishing its own viewers so we can focus on reaching a fair deal.”

Dish pointed out that affected customers can watch NFL games using an over-the-air antenna or stream local and most prime-time games for free on mobile phones and tablets through the NFL app.