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Contractual dispute could affect New Jersey sports fans

Sports fans in New Jersey may have the feeling that they've heard it all before when it comes to television network blackouts. It has been that long since the contractual dispute between Time Warner Cable and CBS was resolved. Now, it's Disney and Dish Network that are having trouble coming to an agreement.

Disney owns ESPN, one of the biggest sports networks around. If negotiations don't go well, Dish Network customers may be without their sports for a while. The current contract between the two media giants is Sept. 30. When people wake up on Oct. 1, they may not have access to ESPN and other Disney channels.

There are two issues at the center of the dispute. The first is what Disney will charge Dish Network for its content. The second is whether Disney will allow Dish to carry Disney's programming on mobile devices. Dish Network isn't the first provider that Disney has had to renegotiate with since Sept. 2010. It has completed seven other contracts without a blackout.

That may not be possible in this case. Dish Network's 14 million customers, some of which are in New Jersey, could find themselves in the middle of a contractual dispute through no fault of their own if the two sides can't agree soon. Of course, both sides would like to continue to work together, but are also equally optimistic that if an agreement is not reached, neither party will suffer if they part ways. One Dish customer doesn't feel that way since the reason that he even has a subscription with the provider is for ESPN. Only time will tell how this drama ends.

Source:, Dish-Disney TV contract dispute has many customers on edge, Gregory J. Wilcox, Sept. 21, 2013

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