Four days until launch and Fox is still negotiating carriage with three major cable and satellite providers for Fox Sports 1. As it stands now, DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner Cable remain the lone holdouts to pick up FS1 in time for its big launch on Saturday. If the stalemate holds past this weekend, it means that 47 million homes across the country won't have access to the new cable sports network.
Sports Business Daily's John Ourand reports that as of today, AT&T U-Verse, Cablevision, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Suddenlink and Verizon FiOS have signed up to carry Fox Sports 1. That amounts to 45 million homes. Back in July, we told you that Fox was having trouble in gaining carriage and one month later, that is still the case. When the network was officially announced back in March, Fox boasted that the network would be available in 90 million homes, but right now, it hasn't even hit 50 million. Unless something drastic happens this week, Fox will be way short of its goal.
As with the CBS/Time Warner Cable dispute, this whole issue is about money. Fox wants to charge 80 cents per subscriber at the outset with the cost eventually rising to $1.50. The channel which Fox Sports 1 is replacing, Speed, cost the cable and satellite providers 23 cents per subscriber. So you can see the providers are balking at the price increase. And while the talks between Fox and the three holdouts are ongoing, there's little hope that an agreement will be reached in time.
The three remaining holdouts have been stubborn over certain sports networks and have been willing to keep them off their systems for extended periods. In DirecTV's case, it's going into its second year of its dispute with Pac-12 Networks. And Time Warner and CBS are going into their second week in their fight.
Can the stalemate be broken in time? There's a possibility, but if recent history is any indication, subscribers to DirecTV, Dish and Time Warner may have to wait a while before they're able to see Fox Sports 1 on their televisions.