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Disney channels, including ESPN, no longer on Dish network due to contract dispute

Dish Network and its streaming service, Sling TV, pulled all Walt Disney channels early this morning, which include the ESPN array of outlets, the latest carriage dispute to affect sports fans.

Dish and Sling have more than 10 million combined subscribers who will not have access now to college football games and “Monday Night Football” on ESPN, among other programming, at the very least over the next few days. What makes this particular dustup between a content provider and distributor noteworthy is it may be the first time the trend of moving material off of cable and onto a streaming service, like ESPN + and Disney +, has been cited as one of the reasons.

“A recent quote from their CEO (Bob Chapek) sums it all up,” Brian Neylon, Group President of Dish, said in a recorded message on the satellite service’s website. “Their linear networks such as ESPN, ABC and Freeform are ‘huge cash generators for Disney’ — but Disney+, their streaming service, is not. Look, we know many people subscribe to and enjoy Disney+. We just don’t think it’s fair that Disney is asking us and you to pay significantly higher rates in order to help subsidize their unprofitable streaming service.”

Disney reported over $1 billion in losses from streaming services ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu in its most recent quarter.

On its website, Dish maintained that Disney’s proposals would add nearly $1 billion extra in costs, and force customers who buy packages on Dish without sports to buy into sports.

“We don’t think this is fair and that is why we are fighting hard for a fair rate to ensure you get the best possible value from Dish,” the website statement said.

Disney Media and Entertainment said in a statement, “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…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.”

Rich Greenfield, a media analyst with Lightshed Partner tweeted of the development, “NEVER seen a carriage battle of this magnitude explode with no advanced warning. Have to believe Disney raising rates on linear TV channels Dish and their subs pay for, while shifting program to streaming services outside the bundle, provoked this.”

The sports channels affected are ESPN, ESPN2 , ESPNU, ESPN News, ESPN Deportes, ACC Network, SEC Network and the Longhorn Network. The Athletic

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