Ending a dispute that kept Comcast SportsNet California off of Dish Network for over two months, the parties have reached a new carriage agreement that restores the RSN to the DBS provider's air.
The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, returns CSN California to Dish customers, who will once again be able to watch contests of the NHL San Jose Sharks and NBA Sacramento Kings, plus team-related programming, as well as other sports fare, including Oakland A's Major League Baseball games. The disconnect dates back to Nov. 24.
The companies also agreed to terminate all pending arbitration proceedings with the Federal Communications Commission. Dish has been out of contract with three other RSNs run by Comcast that are now part of the NBC Sports Group via the NBC Universal joint venture: CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago and CSN Mid-Atlantic. Those networks have remained available to Dish subscribers.
Relative to CSN California, Dish had been out of contract with Comcast since September 2009. However, the RSN remained on the No. 2 DBS provider's lineup until it dropped CSN California at midnight on Nov. 24. The disconnect came about a dozen hours after Dish lost a baseball-style arbitration for its proposal before a FCC arbitrator on Nov 23. Dish had initiated the arbitration under a condition imposed upon Comcast's (and Time Warner Cable's) 2006 acquisition of Adelphia Communications, which enabled the No. 2 DBS provider to ask for an FCC-mandated arbitrator to settle any pricing impasse.
Similarly, Dish had initiated other arbitration proceedings against three other Comcast-owned RSNs: CSN Bay Area, CSN Chicago and CSN Mid-Atlantic.
"We are pleased we have reached a fair deal with Comcast SportsNet California to restore its coverage of the Sacramento Kings, San Jose Sharks, Oakland A's and other sporting events to our customers. Dish Network will continue to work hard to offer the best value and experience in pay television," said Dish senior vice president of programming Dave Shull said in a statement.
Noted Comcast Sports Group president Jon Litner: "Dish Network is an important distribution partner, and this agreement ensures that Dish Network customers receive the best local sports programming in Northern California."
Despite the new agreement with CSN, Dish still has RSN problems with MSG and MSG Plus, which have been off the distributor's air since the parties' contract expired on Oct. 1, 2010.
Dish struck a retransmission-consent deal Tuesday with Frontier Broadcasting for Fox affiliate WGXA-TV Macon, Ga., and its digital multicast channel programmed as an ABC affiliate.
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