DISH Network has long held the reputation of being a tough negotiator when it comes to carrier contracts for its satellite television services. In 2019 the company has more than lived up to its reputation. Most recently, DISH announced that they were dropping the Altitude Sports, and the satellite provider has still yet to reach a deal with Disney to renew their contracts for National Geographic and FX.
Altitude Sports is a big loss for a lot of DISH Network subscribers because Altitude is the network that carries most of the regional sports events. That means local sports fans are suddenly having to purchase a subscription in addition to their DISH Network package if they want to follow all the games for their favorite local team.
DISH released a statement in late August explaining to their customers why they refused to renew their deal with Altitude:
“Altitude Sports is attempting to force its channel upon DISH customers, by demanding payment on a guaranteed minimum number of subscribers. The regional sports network is also asking for unreasonable rates for its channel, just as the Avalanche and Nuggets teams begin their seasons…We’re no longer going to support the broken regional sports TV business model that seeks to have the majority of pay-TV customers pay for the few who watch.”
As the traditional TV market continues to shrink, the power of sports carriers continues to grow. It’s not crazy to think that in the future traditional pay-TV services will be completely predicated on sports access. Unfortunately for DISH Network customers, Altitude shows no signs of rejoining DISH anytime soon.
Disney on the other hand, still has time to reach a contract agreement with DISH before a channel blackout goes into effect. Disney acquired National Geographic and FX when 21st Century Fox closed. As a result, DISH and Disney need to reach their own agreement. So far that has not happened, though both companies say that they remain committed to finding a solution.
Our contract with Dish for the FX and National Geographic networks is due to expire soon, so we have a responsibility to make our viewers aware of the potential loss of our programming,” Disney told Frontline News. “However, we remain fully committed to reaching a deal and are hopeful we can do so.”
It’s difficult to keep up with what channels are available where in today’s world. These types of contract negotiations are uncommon, though that doesn’t make them any less frustrating for the average consumer. Unfortunately, as traditional pay-TV bundles continue to grow more competitive, these type of negotiations and blackouts will only become more common.
Disney And Dish Extend Talks Over FX And Nat Geo, Avoid Blackout – Update