CHAMPAIGN — Dish Network customers might have to leave the comforts of home to watch Saturday’s Illini football game at Minnesota.
The satellite-TV provider and the Big Ten Network’s co-owner, Fox Corp., are in a contract dispute, leaving BTN, Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and Fox Deportes off Dish since Thursday.
Both sides say the other started it.
“Fox pre-packaged an attack on its own viewers. They deliberately planned to remove their content and bombard consumers with deceivingly false threats while blocking them from the things they want to watch,” Dish Group President Brian Neylon said in a statement.
The message on a Fox website encouraging Dish subscribers to sign up with a competitor stated: “Dish is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic, regardless of the impact on its own customers. Dish elected to drop Fox networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is Dish’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”
It sounds like negotiations aren’t going well.
Fox said Dish “rejected our offer for an extension,” while Dish said that offer included a “double-digit percentage-rate increase for continued carriage of its local channels.”
“Fox is also attempting to ‘force bundle’ its local channels and unrelated cable networks to get more money and gain negotiating leverage,” Dish said in a statement.
While Fox affiliates in major markets such as Chicago, Minneapolis and Detroit aren’t available on Dish, the local Fox Illinois station isn’t affected by the dispute.
In a separate dispute Dish is having with Sinclair Broadcasting Group over the regional Fox sports networks it owns, Fox Sports Midwest has been off Dish since July 26.