Dish-Fox fight could affect viewers for Michigan, Michigan State, Lions games

Angelique S. Chengelis
The Detroit News

Michigan and Michigan State football fans who are Dish Network subscribers might have to find alternative viewing options for Saturday’s games that will be carried on Big Ten Network. Lions fans might also face a similar dilemma for Sunday’s game.

Dish and Fox Networks have been in a major distribution battle since the summer and on Thursday afternoon, Dish decided to drop Fox networks, which includes BTN. Michigan’s noon game Saturday against Rutgers is scheduled to air on BTN, followed by Michigan State’s game at 3:30 p.m. against Indiana.

Fans of Michigan and Michigan State who are Dish Network subscribers might have trouble watching the Wolverines and Spartans on TV on Saturday.

Fox-owned stations in major markets across the country, including Detroit, are affected. Viewers find Fox on WJBK locally, but BTN, FS1, FS2, and Fox Deportes have also gone dark on Dish Network.

If there is no movement in negotiations, this could also affect Dish customers who want to watch the Lions-Chiefs game Sunday at 1 p.m.

More: Detroit News predictions: Michigan vs. Rutgers

“DISH/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers,” a Fox Corporation spokesperson said in a statement Thursday. “DISH/Sling elected to drop Fox Networks in an effort to coerce us to agree to outrageous demands. While we regret this is DISH/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider.”

Fans have been directed to to see if their service is affected.

Dish is the second-largest satellite TV provider in the country with 12 million households. This carriage dispute also affects Dish/Sling subscibers.

In a statement on the Dish website, the provider put the blame on Fox.

“We're disappointed to see Fox put our customer in the middle of its negotiations by choosing to remove their channels from DISH's lineup,” according to the statement. “We appreciate your patience while we continue to work with Fox to bring back your channels."

Twitter: @chengelis