You may have noticed that there were commercials during Wizards and Capitals games on Comcast SportsNet Mid Atlantic last weekend telling Dish Network subscribers to call the network and tell them not to remove the channel from the lineup. If you were wondering when this started, Capitals play-by-play announcer Joe Beninati announced it Thursday during their 3-2 win over the Colorado Avalanche.
The commercials, and play-by-play announcers' messages about the issue are part of a marketing campaign by the channel to get fans to voice their displeasure to Dish, and ensure that there is no interrupted coverage. According to Multichannel News, Dish Network's current contract with CSN Mid Atlantic expires on December 2, which is next Tuesday.
As you might have guessed, the reason why these commercials are going on is because of a stall in negotiations between NBC Sports Group (CSN's parent), and Dish Network, which currently airs the CSN affiliates for the Mid Atlantic (the channel we watch in the D.C. area), Chicago, Bay Area, and California (Sacramento area) regions. In short, NBC Sports Group wants to get paid fairly by Dish Network for the regional sports channels. Dish Network claims that NBC Sports Group is demanding a "20 percent price increase for more than 90 percent of Dish customers ... when only a small fraction of those consumers actually watch the channels," per the Multichannel report.
While it may not be uncommon to see cable television providers get in disputes with television channel providers, Dish Network's dispute with NBC Sports Group runs pretty deep. Dish recently let CSN New England go off its airwaves in August, and they also don't air other NBC regional networks like SNY (New York City), CSN Philadelphia, or CSN Northwest (Portland, Oregon), so Dish Network subscribers in those areas can't watch the teams that are broadcast on those networks.
I am not a Dish Network subscriber, so I will still get my Wizards and Capitals games aired on my television set after December 2. But I hope that this dispute gets resolved soon, because many sports fans who have Dish Network could be in the dark if this does follow through.
If you are a Dish Network subscriber and wish to get your voice heard, call 1-844-I-WANT-CSN, or click here to get to CSN's special site.