After a 50-day dispute, Dish Network and the NFL have settled their differences and as of this week, NFL Network and its companion RedZone are back on the satellite provider. As it was with most content provider-pay TV disputes, it was over the per subscriber fee. The return of NFL Network comes just in time for the start of the preseason.
Back in June when we told you about the dispute, we said Dish was in a position to save some money during the offseason and bring back NFL Network and NFL RedZone in time for the regular season. While the dispute was resolved well before the regular season, Dish still was able to put some money into its proverbial pocket during the 50 days it kept the channel dark. And now that programming ramps up with the preseason this month and the regular season starting in September, Dish has one of the major sports channels back on its systems.
But while NFL Network is back, Dish is still in a dispute with Tribune Broadcasting meaning stations in Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Seattle and more are dark. CBS affiliate WTTV and co-owned Fox affiliate WXIN in Indianapolis are encouraging Dish subscribers to drop the service and find another provider as both stations carry Sunday afternoon NFL games with WTTV being the home of most Colts games this season.
And Dish is at the deadline in its talks with Raycom which owns 56 stations across the country including several network affiliates which air NFL games. So while one dispute is settled, others are either still ongoing or about to begin and no viewer wants to lose a station or network that carries his or her favorite programming. With NFL games being held hostage and subscribers being left in the middle, it all boils down to money so unless Dish or Tribune or Raycom find ways to come together, viewers are left holding the bag.
Dish subscribers can be relieved that NFL Network is back, but those in local markets where their local stations are dark, it’s a mixed bag.