UPDATED, 7:12 PM: The NFL regular season is about a month away, and Dish subscribers who are fans can exhale now. The No. 2 satcaster has reached a deal with the league to carry its NFL Network and NFL RedZone, more than six weeks after they went dark in a carriage dispute. Dish said in a brief statement tonight that it “has reached a multi-year agreement with NFL Network for carriage of NFL Network and RedZone. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.”
PREVIOUSLY, June 16: Dish Network has dropped NFL Network and NFL RedZone as of this evening at 7 PM ET, the first time it has been dropped by a service provider, the NFL-owned net says. The blackout comes at the same time the nation’s No. 2 satellite provider is embroiled carriage contract dispute with the Tribune stations. Since Sunday about 5 million of Dish’s satellite customers in 33 markets have been unable to see Tribune stations, and about 7 million unable to watch WGN America.
The NFL Network said in a statement tonight: “As the only network 100% dedicated to coverage of America’s most popular sports league, NFL Network is committed to serving the millions of NFL fans by reaching fair distribution agreements with the pay-TV industry.” It remains in more than 60 million U.S. households via DirecTV, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Time Warner Cable and Verizon FiOS, and urges Dish customers to seek out their channels elsewhere.
On the Tribune front, Dish’s proposal to resolve their dispute via arbitration was nixed by the station group, which countered with a proposal to let FCC chairman Tom Wheeler’s office monitor the discussions with daily joint calls.
Dish says it objects to Tribune’s “significant price increases” for its stations and says Tribune wants to “force bundle” them with WGNA — which the satellite distributor calls “an unrelated and low-performing cable channel.”
Tribune says that it’s offering terms that are consistent with other deals it has made — but Dish hasn’t negotiated in good faith.
The NFL season opens September 8.