Already in various states of impasse with Turner Networks and CBS Corp. over program-rights renewals, Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) is facing the prospect of four Comcast-owned regional sports networks going dark on its service during the first week of December.
The affected networks--CSN Chicago, CSN Mid-Atlantic, CSN Bay Area and CSN California--have already begun issuing the usual dire warnings to subscribers, telling them their favorite team could soon be blacked out on their satellite service if a deal isn't carved out soon. A fifth Comcast RSN, CSN New England, has been blacked out on Dish since August.
"With the upcoming expiration of our agreements, we are growing increasingly concerned that Dish is not willing to work toward mutually acceptable terms for continuing carriage of NBC Sports Group's portfolio of Comcast SportsNet regional networks," reads a Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) statement released Friday. "This unwillingness to recognize the value that live sports delivers, and meet terms that have already been established with our other distribution partners, is putting Dish customers at risk of losing access to Comcast SportsNet's live game coverage and comprehensive sports news. We feel that the time has come to inform our networks' passionate viewers of teams from Chicago, Washington DC, Baltimore, San Francisco and Sacramento that they may soon be unable to watch their favorite NBA, NHL, MLB and MLS teams via Dish's service."
Earlier last week, Dish released the following statement: "Comcast SportsNet is demanding a 40 percent price increase for more than 90 percent of Dish customers in each of the affected markets, when only a small fraction of those consumers actually watch the channels. This heavy-handed tactic is troubling given Comcast's proposed merger with Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) that would allow it to exercise even more power to leverage programming content in anti-competitive ways."
- read this Washington Post story
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