FOX Sports 1 and TV provider AT&T U-Verse are 7 weeks into a standoff that has caused viewers to miss out on many live sporting events, including the first 6 weeks of MLS games, and United States vs. Mexico friendly on Wednesday night (even though parent company AT&T sponsored the game on FS1). And it’s unclear but it may also include tomorrow’s FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Aston Villa.
While disputes between channels and providers are nothing new, this specific battle is, however, a little different. In most cases of similar standoffs such as this one, the provider will drop the channel from their lineup altogether. However, in this instance, U-Verse is airing FS1 programming except for certain live sporting events (such as soccer matches and NASCAR races). As a result, AT&T U-Verse customers tuning in to USA-Mexico on Wednesday got a World Darts Championship program instead of a live soccer game.
As usual, this standoff centers around money.
In response to the conflict, AT&T made the following statement: “FOX Sports 1 is asking AT&T to pay additional fees for the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Big East Basketball Games, as well as U.S. Golf Association tournaments. While it’s important to us that we provide our customers with the content they want, we don’t believe that it is reasonable to pass on the added costs of carrying this programming to our customer.
“Our strategy has always been to carry the sports our customers want most, but only through fair deals for our customers and our business. We won’t agree to a deal that would cause our customers to pay unreasonable rates.”
FOX Sports’ position is that “AT&T U-verse’s current agreement with FOX Sports 1 does not cover dozens of live sporting events on the channel beginning with the NASCAR XFINITY Series race from Atlanta (March 1st). Other events that may not air are 8 additional NASCAR XFINITY series races, 17 Big East Conference basketball games (including all men’s tournament games), many Major League Soccer and US Men’s and Women’s National Team soccer matches, and 8 USGA events including rounds 1 and 2 of the US Open.
“While FOX Sports 1 attempts to negotiate an agreement that extends to these events, we must prepare AT&T U-verse subscribers for the possibility that they may not be able to see these events on the channel. U-verse subscribers are encouraged to reach out to AT&T to request all FOX Sports 1 programming.”
Altogether, AT&T U-Verse has approximately 6 million customers.
With the dispute currently dragging on, and customers starting to get agitated, hopefully AT&T and FOX Sports can quickly resolve their monetary issues and put an end to the standoff. Unfortunately, the public (and specifically soccer fans) are getting screwed.
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