Fox-Direct TV contracts stall
October 17, 2011
Last week the Sports Business Journal reported that the television contracts between Direct TV and Fox have ended. The result could lead to a blackout of 26 Fox cable channels with the nation’s second biggest distributor.
While Fox channels remain up and running with Direct TV, the stall in new contract talks is something to keep apprised of as the UFC-Fox partnership begins. One might remember that Fox channels went dark during the MLB Playoffs on Dish Network and Cablevision last year while the parties tried to come to an agreement on a new contract.
The crux of the impasse between Direct TV and Fox is retransmission consent revenue. Its unknown what fee Fox is requesting from Direct TV although the report states Fox has been negotiating deals of $1 per subscriber per month for its broadcast network.
The Direct TV-Fox negotiations are important for the UFC. Direct TV has 19 million subscribers and as the second biggest distributor in the US, a blackout of Fox channels could hurt UFC television programming with its new Fox partners. Certainly, the UFC would hate to see a blackout of Fox channels. One could only imagine the advantage Spike TV (with rights to the UFC library) would have with Direct TV subscribers if a Fox blackout occurred. We will continue to monitor the situation on the state of negotiations.