An advocacy group called Sports Fan Coalition is upset that Fox Television has pulled regional sports programming over a carriage dispute with DISH Network, and is concerned that the dispute will spill over to broadcast stations, depriving DISH subscribers of access to pro football and play-off baseball action.
“Fox has blindsided sports fans this month by taking its regional sports networks off of a pay-tv provider as a form of leverage in contract disputes,” said Brian Frederick, executive director of the Coalition. “With the professional and college football seasons well underway and postseason baseball just getting started, many sports fans are already extremely upset about missing the games they want to see. We have written News Corp. CEO and Chairman Rupert Murdoch, urging him to settle these commercial disputes off the field, but keep the games on the air.”
SFC says Fox is threatening to pull its broadcast television O&Os, which could deprive fans of sports and other programming in cities like New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia, St. Louis and Minneapolis.
Frederick concluded, “Sports fans should not be treated like fumbled pigskin in a clash between corporate behemoths. Because sports are so important to Americans, sports coverage is often used as the primary form of leverage in contract disputes between broadcasters and pay-TV companies. We ask that this October, Fox not engage in this practice.”
RBR-TVBR observation: Strangely enough, one of the directors of SFC works for DISH, and two of the companies on the Advisory Board are Time Warner Cable and Verizon. That, ladies and gentlemen, is an MVPD trifecta – cable, satellite and telco. It’s not too surprising SFC is taking DISH’s side in this dispute.