If you’re a Dish Network customer and planning to watch two of the three final Atlanta Braves regularly scheduled season games this weekend, you may be out of luck.
News Corp.’s Fox is blocking Dish’s access to 19 Fox Sports channels, FX and the National Geographic Channel. The sticking point is rate increases. Dish said they are asking for transmission fee increase of more than 50 percent. Those increases are often passed on to customers in the form of higher monthly subscription rates.
In a press release today, Dish said, “Fox has flatly refused Dish Network’s request to allow customers to continue to watch these FOX channels during the negotiations.”
“Dish Network is not going to allow Fox or any programmer to bully our customers into paying such an unconscionable price increase,” said Dave Shull, senior vice president of Programming for Dish Network in the press release.
The University of Georgia football game on Saturday night versus the Colorado Buffaloes is set to air on Fox Sports South, which would be unavailable if this dispute continues.
But good news, Dawg fans: Dish has come up with a work around. It has made some channels available that most Atlanta subscribers don’t normally get, including FSN Rocky Mountain (9664) and CSN Mid-Atlantic (9667) . Those networks are airing the Georgia-Colorado game. (UPDATE: I hear this work-around did not end up happening. I’m checking with Dish to see if that was indeed the case.)
There, so far, appears to be no other option for the affected Braves games SportsSouth is scheduled to air the Braves-Phillies game tonight at 7:30 p.m. Fox Sports South is set to air the Sunday game, which could be manager Bobby Cox’s final game ever, at 1:30 p.m. (The Saturday game at 4 p.m. will air on WAGA-TV, which Dish Network customers will have access to whether this dispute is resolved or not.)
Fox has its own website about the situation at www.getwhatipaidfor.com where it also notes that the Fox broadcast network might be affected on November 1 in a separate dispute. There, Fox points to alternative options such as DirecTV, Comcast and AT&T U-Verse.
In a media statement today, Fox said, “The proposal we’ve offered Dish is fair and in line with the tremendous value we provide. We regret the inconvenience to our viewers, but Dish has asserted its subscribers do not value our channels and has made a decision to go forward without them.”
This move affects Dish Network’s 14.3 million nationwide customers. (Dish does not reveal metro specific numbers.)
According to Scarborough Research covering February 2009 to January 2010, the Atlanta metro area has 1.5 million households that subscribe to cable, 527,700 households who use DirecTV and 320,400 households who have Dish.
This current dispute does not impact Fox News, the Fox broadcast network (WAGA) or Fox Business Channel.