Continuing to reject surcharges for college football games, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) set a statewide blackout in Maryland of the Big Ten Network's opening-game contest between Maryland and James Madison.
Dish told the Baltimore Sun on Saturday, Aug. 30, "Big Ten Network is requiring that Dish pay a significant additional charge to carry University of Maryland and Rutgers University home games in their home states. We are unwilling to pass these costs on to our customers."
(Not that Maryland fans missed a barn-burner--their Terrapins won easily, 52-7)
Issuing its rebuttal, the Big Ten Network told the paper, "Dish is the only major pay-TV provider to reject BTN's offer to make Maryland games on BTN available to its customers within the state. All other major pay-TV providers in Maryland will carry the Terrapins' games."
Maryland and Rutgers are both starting their first season of Big Ten play after defecting from the Atlantic Coast Conference. So now that the schools are officially in the Big Ten footprint, is the Big Ten Network trying to secure a higher fee rate from local pay-TV operators? Responding to FierceCable's inquiry, Dish gave us the same statement it gave The Sun. BTN, meanwhile, has yet to respond.
Dish, which has aggressively promoted the availability of college football coverage on its service through TV commercials, was just involved in another blackout skirmish with Fox Sports 1. The satellite company threatened to black out four opening season games Saturday, with FS1 tacking on an additional charge for the games above its normal carriage fee.
That dispute was ultimately resolved. Notably, Rutgers' opening-season win over Washington State was shown nationally on FS1, so it ended up not getting blacked out in the schools' New Jersey area Big Ten Network footprint. As for coming games, we'll have to see how this impasse develops.
- read this Baltimore Sun story
Dish Network lifts blackout on Fox Sports 1 college football games
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