Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) is involved in yet another rights dispute with a regional sports network and, as things stand, will not carry 35 Minnesota Timberwolves games on Fox Sports North during this just-started NBA season.
The Fox-owned RSN has rights to cover 75 Timberwolves games that aren't being picked up by national networks like ESPN and TNT. All of these games will be carried by the Upper Northwest's major pay-TV services, including Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), Charter (NASDAQ: CHTR), DirecTV (NASDAQ: DTV) and Mediacom.
According to the Twin Cities' Pioneer Post, however, vagaries in Dish's contract with Fox Sports North (FSN) limit it to carrying only 40 Timberwolves games, unless a deal is carved out to pick up the other 35.
In a statement provided to the paper, Dish said FSN "is requiring additional fees for carriage of many of the Timberwolves games on Fox Sports North, which would amount to extra costs for our customers. … We are not willing to pass those costs along, and will continue to negotiate our sports programming contracts with Dish customers in mind."
For its part, FSN has placed the proverbial ad in local sports pages telling Dish subscribers to switch pay-TV services. Mike Diamond, senior VP and general manager of FSN, told the Pioneer Press that the next move is the satellite carrier's. "All of the other major providers are taking the games," he said.
Dish is currently involved in similar impasse with Comcast-owned CSN New England, which is keeping Boston Celtics games off the satellite service. This week, the network launched its own radio and newspaper campaign in Boston to turn up the heat on Dish.
- read this Pioneer Press story
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