For those of us hockey fans with DirecTV, we should be biting our nails right now. Our satellite provider, who has generally been known to play hardball against channel providers, has gone right after our heart. Starting last week, DirecTV and NewsCorp, which owns Fox Networks, have been mired in a big money debate, and DirecTV won’t air any of Fox Network’s channels until the situation is resolved. And yes, that means Fox Sports Florida.
The details are scarce from both sides, and the stories provided by both networks are polar opposites.
A Fox Networks spokesman made this statement:
“DirecTV sent us a proposal on Tuesday afternoon. They have given us no chance to respond before taking an unnecessarily aggressive posture and going public. It is disappointing that they have chosen bad faith tactics over meaningful negotiation. We have proposed to keep the Fox Networks on DirecTV for the same price, and on the same terms as they are currently carried while we attempt to work out a fair agreement. Unfortunately, DirecTV has decided that unless they get their way, they are going to pull the plug on their customers November 1.”
Meanwhile, DirecTV’s CEO Mike White had this to say:
As it stands now, News Corp. wants you to pay 40 percent more for the exact same channels you receive today. We believe this price increase is entirely too much—in today’s economy, or in any economy. DirecTV already pays News Corp. nearly a billion dollars a year for their channels, and we have no problem continuing to compensate them reasonably going forward. But it’s simply unfair for News Corp. to demand a 40-percent increase for the same networks you enjoy today.
If you feel worried about the very obvious difference in the stories, you have a right to be. DirecTV was in this situation two years ago with Versus, who was supplied by Comcast. DirecTV said that Comcast was hiking the price on Versus, so they removed the channel off the air on September 1st. The channel didn’t return to the DirecTV lineup until March 15th.
And of course, this dispute is not limited to only Fox Sports. Channels like FX, National Geographic, Speed, and Fox Soccer would be shut off as well.
To be honest, there’s no way of knowing when Fox Sports will be able to return. As of right now, DirecTV is scheduled to remove those channels at midnight, November 1. That appears to be the only absolute. Hopefully, there will be so many angry customers that either DirecTV or NewsCorp will fold and take their losses, but who knows.
If there is any ray of hope for the Panthers, it’s that they do not play another road game until November 8. Maybe there will be a hesitant deal in place by that point. We have three home games between now and then. So, make sure to actually attend the games if you have DirecTV! You might not be able to watch on your TV!
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