It may take a while to get a response from DISH Network; a spokesperson tells Unfair Park most of its higher-ups are at the Consumer Electronic Show in Las Vegas. Till we get a response, then, this is Fox Sports Southwest's side of the story.
This year, the network upped the number of Dallas Stars games it's broadcasting, from 41 to 61 -- "an all-time high," in the words of Ramon Alvarez, FSS's director of public relations. And with the additional games comes additional costs -- these things don't get on the teevee by magic. Alvarez says that all the other local carriers, among them DirecTV and AT&T U-verse and Time Warner Cable, agreed at the beginning of the season to help Fox Sports Southwest defray some of those costs after negotiations.
"We asked them to absorb some of the costs," Alvarez says, declining to offer specific numbers. "It's reasonable for that kind of programming. And everyone said yes, but DISH didn't."
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Which is why tonight's game against the New York Islanders will not be broadcast locally on DISH Network -- the 11th time this season, Alvarez says, but not the last. Which means, yet again, he'll hear from Stars fans wondering what in the wide, wide world of sports is going on.
"We have received feedback from DISH customers and have explained the situation, and some have indicated they would drop the service and go to another provider that does carry the games," he says. "We don't expect a deal to be done any time soon, because they have refused to negotiate with us." We'll update when we hear from DISH.
Update at 3:18 p.m.: Allyson Mylrea, DISH Network's corporate communications coordinator, sends along the company's response:
DISH Network's contract with FSN Southwest guarantees 40 Dallas Stars games per year, and all customers who subscribe to the channel will have access to those games. Last season, FSN Southwest decided to broadcast an additional 20 Stars games at no extra cost, but this year, they decided to charge an exorbitant amount for these same games. If we paid this outrageous amount, the result would be higher bills for all DISH Network customers, and we refuse to make our customers pay more in these uncertain economic times. At some point, someone has to say no to the ever-escalating price of sports programming. We are disappointed in the high price FSN Southwest is seeking for these games and will continue to negotiate a more reasonable price for carriage.