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NBA, NHL Back Fox In Dish Dispute
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (October 11, 2010) -- Both the NBA and NHL have apparently sided with Fox Networks in its programming fee fight with satcaster Dish Network.

On October 1, Dish Network was forced to drop the Fox-owned FX, National Geographic Channel and 19 Fox regional sports networks because it couldn't reach a new programming agreement with Fox.

The Fox regional sports networks air pre-season and regular season games from the professional sports leagues. And now the NBA and NHL are running stories at league-sponsored web sites (NBA.com and NHL.com) saying that Dish has refused to reach a "fair agreement" with Fox Networks.

Additionally, the stories warn viewers that if they have Dish, they will not be able to watch the new seasons of the NBA and NHL

For instance, at the NHL site for the Florida Panthers, a story says:

At midnight on Oct. 1, DISH Network dropped FOX Sports Florida (and all FSN networks throughout the United States) because it refused to reach a fair agreement with FOX to carry the network. As a result, Panthers fans that have DISH will probably miss this Sunday’s season opener at Edmonton, as well as the home opener vs. Tampa Bay on Oct. 16."

At the NHL's Los Angeles Kings' site, a story actually urges Dish subscribers to seek another TV provider:

Fortunately, there are alternatives, as Fox Sports West (which broadcasts the Kings' games) is offered by a number of other local distributors in our area." the Kings site says. "As you can imagine, DISH’s competitors are ready, willing and able to make great offers to DISH customers that don’t want to miss their Kings games."

The NBA site for the Los Angeles Clippers also urges Dish subscribers to switch providers.

It appears that Fox has persuaded the leagues to help them pressure Dish to sign a new agreement ASAP.
Fox says it's asking for the market rate for FX, National Geographic and the regional sports channels, but Dish has called Fox's request "outrageous."

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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.

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