NFL Network, RedZone go dark on Dish Network, Sling

Dish Network has taken the NFL Network and NFL RedZone off of the US satellite television service and its over-the-top offering SlingTV, representing the latest carriage battle for the Colorado-based company.

Dish has previously had extended contract and distribution battles with the likes of HBO, Univision, and Fox News Channel. Long a tough negotiator, Dish has not had HBO or Cinemax on its service since 2018, cut ties last year with a series of regional sports networks now owned by Sinclair, and didn’t have Univision available for more than eight months between 2018-19.

The ongoing standoff with the NFL looks to be similar.

“As of 9pm ET [on June 18], NFL Network and NFL RedZone are no longer available to Dish and Sling TV subscribers. While NFL Media remains committed to negotiating an agreement and offered terms consistent with those in place with other distributors, Dish has not agreed,” the league said in a statement.

Dish, conversely, said, “the NFL has chosen to remove their channels during these unprecedented times. We appreciate your patience as we continue to work with the NFL. Our goal is to reach a fair agreement with the NFL, bringing their channels back before the season begins so that you don’t miss any live sports action.”

Sling similarly said to its customers, “The NFL is asking for a rate increase that is simply unacceptable during this uncertain time in professional sports. We don’t think this is fair for you to have to pay more for the same content you get today.”

Dish pointed consumers toward the NFL mobile app, which offers free live streaming of the NFL Network.

Dish and Sling combine for more than 11.3m subscribers.

Citing its other carriage deals with Comcast, DirecTV, Charter, Verizon, and Altice, among others, the NFL said it is still pushing for full distribution throughout the US cable and OTT landscape.

“As the only network 100 per cent dedicated to coverage of America’s most popular sports league, NFL Network is committed to serving the millions of NFL fans by reaching fair distribution agreements with the pay-TV industry,” the league said.