Dish Network is at it again. They pulled MSG and MSG+ in October of 2010 (and still haven't restored it), dropped SNY on Opening Day of the Mets 2011 season, and have had issues with various other regional sports networks. I'm not even taking into account the current dispute that has resutled in AMC being pulled off the air, right before the start of season five of Breaking Bad. Now, Dish is going at it with another sports network: the Big Ten Network.
Dish is scheduled to drop BTN on September 1st. That's this Saturday, or as sports fans know it, the first college football weekend of the year. To BTN's credit, they've created a very informative and detailed website (as well as a dedicated Twitter account) about the dispute, outlining the points of contention between the network and Dish. The BTN site is also showing fans which games they'll miss this football season if the dispute isn't resolved, and shows a nice summary of Dish's previous disputes with other networks.
Some of the responses by Dish on Facebook have been…. interesting….
I didn't post the numerous comments from customers complaining where Dish essentially said "we're sorry BTN dragged you into these negotiations." But the first comment is the one that would really irritate me if I were in this situation with Dish. Nine of the twelve Big Ten teams (wtih Nebraska, Michigan, and Penn State being the lone exceptions) have games on BTN over the first three weeks of the season. If I can't watch my team with my TV package… why would I care that I can watch 130 other games? If this was happening in the south, SEC fans would be going insane if they were told they couldn't watch their team because of a dispute between a network and a provider.
As a sports fan, I'd be wary if I were a current or potential Dish customer, especially if I were a fan of a regionalized team. With Dish dropping New York RSNs, BTN, and not having a future agreement for the Pac-12 Network, what could this mean in the future for other RSNs or conference specific networks? More business for DirecTV perhaps?