Dish Network subscribers in Fort Myers, Fla., found themselves blacked out by local CBS affiliate WINK-TV, the day before the Super Bowl because of a retransmission consent dispute.
Florida's Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be taking on the Kansas City Chiefs for the NFL championship.
Dish and Fort Myers Broadcasting blamed each other for the disruption before the biggest television event of the year.
Subscribers to AT&T’s DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV also faced Super Bowl blackouts in five markets.
“We made a fair offer to keep WINK available to our customers, but Fort Myers Broadcasting rejected it,” said Melisa Boddie, programming VP at Dish. “Fort Myers Broadcasting is using our customers as bargaining chips, pulling this station from our lineup just one day before the biggest sporting event of the year. Our customers deserve a fair deal for their local content, not to be played like pawns by greedy station owners.”
Dish noted that viewers could still watch the big game free on CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports App. They can also watch if they subscriber to CBS All Access.
“We have been trying to come to a deal that is fair for DISH, Fort Myers Broadcasting, and most importantly, our customers,” said Boddie. “We gave in to WINK’s demands and agreed to their rates, but that wasn’t enough — WINK wanted more. We will continue fighting on behalf of our customers to come to a reasonable deal, and we appreciate our customers’ patience as we work to resolve this matter.”
The station told its side of the story on the WINK website.
“Unfortunately, WINK-TV and Dish Network have reached an impasse in negotiations for carriage of WINK,” the station said. “Despite granting numerous extensions to Dish, little progress was made in securing a new agreement between WINK and Dish and service was terminated on February 6 at 7:00 p.m. By law, until an agreement is reached, Dish is unable to carry WINK. WINK cannot provide assurance that service to Dish will be restored."
The station noted that "Dish Network is responsible for most of the television service disruptions in the United States. WINK has successfully negotiated carriage agreements with all other satellite and cable company in Southwest Florida and have offered to settle with DISH on similar terms negotiated with other television providers.”
It added that “WINK has never been ‘blacked out’ by any television provider except Dish, and has existing long-term agreements with all major carriers, including Comcast, DirecTV, YouTube TV, and Hulu Live.”
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