No Bull: Dish Rides PBR Pact

Dish Network has steered a deal with Professional Bull Riders Inc. to become the official satellite television partner of the PBR

The deal, terms of which were not disclosed, covers the remaining stops on this year's Built Ford Tough Series, the 2009 PBR 2009 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, as well as all events on the 2010 BFTS tour.

The agreement comes as rival DirecTV remains in a distribution dispute with Versus, the principal TV carrier of the PBR. The Comcast-owned national sports network has remained off of DirecTV since its contract expired on Sept. 1. Currently, Dish has stepped into the chute, so to speak, and is providing a free preview of Versus to all of its customers through November, a period that encompasses the PBR Finals in Las Vegas.

"Millions of PBR fans are deeply concerned about the uncertain future of Versus' availability on DirecTV," said PBR CEO Randy Bernard in a statement. "We have heard from tens of thousands of them and have been working diligently to provide options and alternatives."

Noted Dish chief marketing officer Ira Bahr: "Dish Network is proud to offer the most complete coverage of professional bull riding events in satellite TV, including every broadcast of the Built Ford Tough Series in high definition. We recognize the devotion PBR fans have to the sport of bull riding, which is why all of our customers are receiving Versus, the home of PBR, for free with Dish Network through the month of November."

The DBS provider is looking to incentivize new customers to make the switch by offering a $25 prepaid gift card, when they order today by calling 1-888-538-8459 and mentioning the code "PBR."

The partnership will manifest through a number of marketing opportunities, including signage around the arenas, a presence on JumboTrons, and in the chutes. Moreover, the partnership enables Dish representatives to be on-hand at the events to answer questions about the service.

Dish will also have a presence on PBR Now, the new circuit show on RFDTV, according to officials at the DBS provider.