Dish subscribers may lose access to Fox Sports South and Southeast, which air most Braves games starting July 22 if a dispute is not resolved.
Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images
Photo: Dylan Buell/Getty Images

Dish subscribers might lose Braves games starting July 22 over dispute with Fox Sports South and Southeast

Originally posted Saturday, July 20, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

While Dish and Sling subscribers in metro Atlanta without an over-the-air antenna have been missing CBS46 (WGCL-TV) the past few days, they may lose Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast as well on Monday.

[UPDATE: Tuesday, July 23. The stations as of this morning are still on the air for Dish and Sling subscribers so negotiations appear to have been extended.]

Dish, which has often been the most aggressive in negotiating with cable and broadcast networks among service providers, is currently at an impasse with all regional Fox Sports networks, recently purchased from 21st Century Fox by Disney. 

Dish and other providers pays fees to owners of channels and passes those costs to consumers. Most of the time, those deals are negotiated behind the scenes. Every so often, networks decide to play hardball by publicizing the dispute and occasionally pulling off blackouts in hopes viewers would blame the service provider. 

Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast are the primary carriers of Atlanta Braves games, airing 154 this year. Dish subscribers would miss out on games starting Tuesday, July 23 with a two-game series against the Kansas City Royals followed by three with the Philadelphia Phillies and three more with the Washington Nationals. The Braves are currently leading the National League East. 

A spokesman for Fox Sports regional networks declined to comment but the networks have been posting ads on Facebook with the headline “Keep My Home Teams” and featuring a phone number and website. 

Dish provided this statement: 

“DISH’s goal is to keep these channels available to our customers. We are unsure why Disney, the new owner of these channels, decided to involve customers in the contract negotiation process at a point when there is still time for the two parties to reach a mutually beneficial deal.”

Dish had a previous conflict with Fox Sports that lasted from 2013 to 2015 and kept 50 weekend Atlanta Braves off the air over three seasons.

Why did that happen In 2013, Fox Sports bought out the game rights for games that were originally going to air on Peachtree TV and asked for some extra money from the cable and satellite carriers. Everyone said fine – except Dish. Dish has said Fox was asking for too much for rights. Fox didn't budge until 2016. 

Meanwhile, in the other current Dish dispute, Meredith Corp., owner of several TV stations including CBS46, decided to pull its stations off Dish this past Tuesday and a resolution has not happened yet as of Saturday night. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
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