Dish sues Univision for broadcasting Liga MX soccer for free on Facebook

(Liga MX)

Dish Network has filed suit against Univision, claiming the Spanish-language broadcaster is violating its program licensing agreement with the satellite TV company by delivering a live feed of Liga MX soccer matches via Facebook. 

A heavily redacted version of the lawsuit was obtained by Cablefax. In the complaint, Dish alleges that Univision has undermined the value of Dish’s licensing and distribution deal with the Univision Entities by making covered content available for free through a third-party distributor.

In fact, Dish claims Univision is delivering the same broadcast feed of Liga MX matches that it delivers to the pay-TV operator, only switching the audio track from Spanish to English.

Dish claims its agreement with Univision does not allow “linear services to be distributed for free via the Internet or a wireless cellular provider.”

Dish added that “it has and will undoubtedly cost Dish profits and the goodwill of its subscribers and potential subscribers, who are less likely to purchase Dish services or the necessary subscriptions to access its Liga MX content, since games can be viewed for free on the internet or through a wireless cellular provider.”

Reps for Dish didn't immediately respond to inquires for comment. But Univision released this statement: “UCI is disappointed in Dish's decision to file this suit.  For more than a decade, UCI has partnered extensively with Dish to make it one of the most popular TV distribution services with Hispanic America. More people are watching our Liga MX games on our existing Spanish-language cable and broadcast TV networks, as evidenced by our year over year increase in Nielsen TV ratings. We are always looking for innovative ways to build audiences with new platforms.  In fact, UCI was one of the first media companies to support DISH by making its popular Spanish-language broadcast and cable networks available on Dish's Sling TV service. We have also sought to expand the Liga MX audience by offering a select number of matches via a new English-language service on Facebook."

Univision has also agreed to broadcast 22 matches from Major League Soccer on Facebook.