Per Sports Business Journal's John Ourand, Fox networks have gone dark for Dish Network and Sling subscribers. Ourand notes that the broadcast channel will be drorpped, as well as sports channels FS1, FS2, and Big Ten Network. Deadline noted that Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes were also dropped.
The dispute stems from a carriage dispute between Fox and Dish. Both the satellite network and Sling, their over-the-top internet TV service, have not carried Fox regional sports networks for two months since their sale to the Sinclair Broadcast Group. That deal was brought upon by the Fox's Corporation's sale to The Walt Disney Company earlier this summer.
A Fox spokesperson expressed sympathy toward Dish's 12 million satellite users:
"Dish/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers. Dish/Sling elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is Dish/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”
The drop comes at an inopportune time for sports fans. Fox networks not only carry college and professional football (the NFL and the XFL starting February), but they will also feature a good portion of the MLB playoffs, including the World Series. The effects could be felt as soon as tonight, as the NFL's Thursday Night Football package makes its 2019 debut in Green Bay for a game between the Packers and Philadelphia Eagles.
Dish executive Andy LeCuyer, also through Ourand, called Fox's actions "anti-consumer" in turn.
"Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free," LeCuyer said. "It’s clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers."
LeCuyer also brought up the football dilemma.
"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.”
The dispute with Fox isn't the only carriage dispute Dish is currently engaged in. They have likewise been embroiled in a showdown with HBO, who pulled their networks from the service last November.