As of 9 p.m. ET NFL Network and NFL RedZone are no longer available to Dish and Sling TV subscribers. In a press release, the league said, “NFL Media remains committed to negotiating an agreement and has offered terms consistent with those in place with other distributors.”
The NFL dispute is an additional blow to already sports-starved Dish subscribers. The former Fox regional sports networks — now run by Sinclair — which carry MLB, MLS, NHL and NBA programming are also dark on the service.
Without a distribution agreement in place for NFL Network and NFL RedZone, DISH and Sling subscribers will miss daily shows Good Morning Football, NFL Total Access and NFL Now and the newly launched Player’s Choice series featuring classic games and long-form storytelling from the NFL Films archive.
For the 2020 season, NFL Network is only place viewers can watch all 65 preseason games, including 23 live out-of-market games. The NFL Network will also feature a slate of exclusive games. Those include a trio of matchups at the start of the NFL Season and two Saturday doubleheaders in Weeks 15 & 16. In addition to games, Sunday coverage on NFL Network features the Emmy-nominated NFL GameDay Morning.
As for the league’s network deals, Fox Corp. COO John Nallen confirmed on Tuesday that his company is in “very, very early discussions” about renewing its rights deal with the NFL.
In Fox’s former configuration as 21st Century Fox, it paid a reported $1.1 billion in 2011 to reup with the NFL. At the same time, NBC, CBS and ESPN also extended their deals in a collective $7 billion outlay. Those rights expire after the 2022 season, and the clout of the NFL — whose top-rated telecasts are a ballast for advertising and pay-TV — has increased scrutiny on the renewal process. After selling about two-thirds of its assets to Disney in 2019, Fox is also a much smaller company than the one that shelled out for rights the last time.
According to the Nielsen Company, 180 million people tuned into the 2019 NFL regular season with an average of 16.5 million watching per game. NFL games accounted for 47 of the 50 most-watched TV shows among all programming during the 2019 regular season.
NFL Network said in a statement that it “is committed to serving the millions of NFL fans by reaching fair distribution agreements with the pay-TV industry.”
NFL RedZone takes fans from game to game to see the most exciting plays as they happen. With host Scott Hanson, fans can follow the best of live NFL action from across the country and every touchdown from every game Sunday afternoons.
NFL Network continues to be widely distributed across the United States. It as distribution agreements with major cable, satellite, telco, and OTT providers throughout the country — including DirecTV, Comcast Xfinity, Charter Spectrum, Verizon FiOS, Fubo TV, Altice USA Optimum and Cox.