(Updated) A couple of weeks back I did an article regrading the current status of Fox Sports 1 and its carriage deals with the likes of Comcast, DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warner Cable. Since we are about 72 hours from the networks launch I figured it would be a good idea to update you all on the current status of this.
As of right now, if you are a Comcast, Verizon FIOS, AT&T U-verse, RCN or Charter subscriber (just naming some larger companies) you are in the clear as of right now for Fox Sports 1, Fox Sports 2 and FXX (FX’s sister comedy channel). That is right, you can sit back, relax and enjoy all the new content coming your way.
On the flip side, if you have DirecTV, Dish Network or Time Warner Cable you are currently still in limbo and probably just as confused as you were a few weeks ago when it came to carriage deals, subscriber fees and all the regular politics that go into the cable industry. I am here to say though, don’t worry just yet.
Let’s start with DirecTV subscribers, who make up the majority of the market that is left, this holding pattern is not uncommon for DirecTV, especially with regards to a Fox network. As I stated in my previous article Fox owns a huge chunk of DirecTV and have been in some battles in the past. Most notable was when DirecTV was going to dump FX and at the last minute a deal saved the day. They also were two-weeks late on a a Viacom deal a year ago, but that was a different scenario all together.
Obviously, hearing this isn’t exactly the warm-and-fuzzy some of you DirecTV subscribers want to hear right now, but the point is DirecTV likes to do these last minute deals. As you can imagine, just like any negotiation that has a timetable, it is never over until the final minute.
Now, before we all start complaining about how DirecTV still hasn’t agreed to a deal with the Pac 12 Network or the Longhorn Network, yet, remember one thing. FS1 isn’t just a single network with a single benefit, it is a channel that is going after ESPN directly and a channel that has some huge sports and huge advertisers behind it including the NCAA College Football, Basketball, MLB, Nascar, the Ford Motor Company, Geico and Samsung. The Pac 12 Network and the Longhorn Network have very limited pull, very limited advertisers and are asking for roughly the same subscriber fee, which not only hurts the speciality networks, but really hampers a deal getting done.
Truthfully, after hearing that Fox Sports 2 and FXX are already secured for DirecTV, I see a deal getting done this week and it is going to come sometime around Friday, so don’t be surprised if you are sweating this one out. Worst case scenario, Fox Deportes is showing the event this weekend, so tune into channel 425 (only available on select DirecTV packages and markets) and Fox Sports 2 is showing a replay on Sunday.
When it comes to Dish Network and Time Warner Cable subscribers I would be shocked if Fox Sports 1 is sitting on your television boxes on Saturday. Both companies just have a very bad track record when it comes to trying to secure deals, especially on-time.
Not to mention, Time Warner Cable has blacked out the national channel CBS and by the looks doesn’t plan on backing away from that blackout. Just this past week New York Jets and Dallas Cowboy fans who have Time Warner Cable couldn’t watch their teams games, which if I was a fan I would be very irritated right now. Plus, not helping matters, Time Warner Cable is refusing to issue any refunds for subscribers who call to complain about missing CBS.
Dish Network on the other hand has enough problems with already high subscriber fees on speciality channels, so to have another increase on Speed for Fox Sports 1 is going to be a tough pill to swallow. Although, Dish Network does have Fox Deportes, which again is showing the card, so tune into channel 855 and maybe you will be lucky.
In the end, I believe both Dish Network and Time Warner Cable eventually secure deals, but I would not expect it to be soon. Especially when Time Warner Cable is sticking out their chest against one of the biggest networks of NFL preseason and regular season games in CBS.
So if you are a subscriber of either Dish Network or Time Warner Cable and you want the channel, I would suggest calling them and telling them if they don’t figure it out, that you are switching and switching today. Money talks in the cable business, so make your voice heard.