Dish Network and Sling TV Drop ESPN, All Disney Channels: Football Fans Lose It

by Dustin Schutte
(Photo by Chris McDill/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Sports fans with Dish Network and Sling TV packages might be waking up with a major surprise. Unfortunately, it’s not something a cup of coffee can fix, either. ESPN is among 20 channels in the Disney Network to be pulled by Dish because of the inability to reach a carriage-renewal deal.

According to Variety, the contract between the two sides expired at midnight on Sept. 30. Channels taken off Dish Network and Sling TV include ESPN, ABC, FX, Disney Channel, Freeform and National Geographic.

Dish claims that Disney requested a $1 billion increase in fees. A counter-offer was then declined by the company, leading to the black-out of the Disney-related networks.

As you can imagine, subscribers haven’t been happy about the news — especially with NFL and college football seasons in full swing, as well as the MLB postseason approaching.

“Funny it’s never your fault,” one user wrote to Dish Network on Twitter.

Another college football fan was absolutely furious to learn the news. In a tweet, the individual wrote, “You decide to let your contract expire with Disney…on a Saturday at 3 in the morning ET? A College Football Saturday?!”

Another football fan was a little less censored when venting frustrations over the lack of a deal.

It’s hard to believe (actually, it’s not) that the two sides allowed a contract to expire before a college football weekend. It’s something fans across the country are fuming about.

Will a deal be reached in the near future? Dish and Disney had better come to an agreement quickly. Otherwise, the two companies will continue to catch heat.

Two Sides to the Dish-Disney Spat

When it comes to these network negotiations, it usually turns into a bunch of finger pointing. Needless to say, that’s the case with Dish Network and Disney. Neither side has taken responsibility for the situation.

“After months of negotiating in good faith, Dish has declined to reach a fair, market-based agreement with us for continued distribution of our networks,” Dish said in a statement, per Variety. “As a result, their Dish and Sling TV subscribers have lost access to our unrivaled portfolio of live sports and news plus kids, family and general entertainment programming from the ABC-owned television stations, the ESPN networks, the Disney-branded channels, Freeform, the FX networks, the National Geographic channels and BabyTV.”

Disney says it’s asking for its fair share, given the current marketplace.

“The rates and terms we are seeking reflect the marketplace and have been the foundation for numerous successful deals with pay-TV providers of all types and sizes across the country,” Disney says. “We’re committed to reaching a fair resolution, and we urge Dish to work with us in order to minimize the disruption to their customers.”