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Dish Network Now Has the Hockey Blues

Washington, D.C. (October 16, 2009) -- DIRECTV has been taking heat for removing the Versus channel (and its NHL games) off the air due to a programming dispute with Comcast, the network's owner. But now Dish Network has a hockey problem.

Dish has removed Fox Sports Midwest from its SD and HD lineups because of a similar programming dispute over carriage fees. The regional sports channel carries 70 St. Louis Blues games, including 55 in high-def.

Fox was able to reach deals with DIRECTV, AT&T's U-Verse and Charter, the local cable operator, but not Dish, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

"At some point, someone has to say no to the ever-escalating price of sports programming,'' Dish Network said in a statement, "One of the ways we achieve that is by sometimes just saying no to outrageous prices."

Read more below.


Of course, this was the same reason that DIRECTV gave when it removed Versus from the air. The satcaster said Versus was demanding "outrageous" fees to carry it.  Dish, which was able to reach a deal with Versus, has mocked DIRECTV for its failure to carry Versus.

Now Dish has to explain to its St. Louis area subscribers why it won't be showing the Blues in high-def and standard-def.

"Fox Sports Midwest is the home of St. Louis Blues hockey, but we need our local cable and satellite providers to offer all the games to their customers,''' FSM said in a statement. "We're working hard to get this resolved as soon as possible.''

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Phillip Swann is president and publisher of TVPredictions.com. He has been quoted in dozens of publications and broadcast outlets, including CNN, Fox News, Inside Edition, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Financial Times, The Associated Press and The Hollywood Reporter. He can be reached at swann@tvpredictions.com or at 703-505-3064.

Click TVPredictions.com to read more news and features on TV technology. 

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