Charter customers could lose Fox Sports Detroit, other channels soon – Detroit Free Press
Charter cable customers can be considered as day-to-day when it comes to watching Tigers games on Fox Sports Detroit.
The Time Warner-owned company is in a dispute with Fox over its carrier rate, which could leave Charter viewers of channels such as FX, National Geographic Network and FSD out in the cold soon. The deadline for the two to reach an agreement keeps getting delayed — at last check, it was today, according to multichannel.com. The deadline has been moved three times already this week.
“Fox is trying to gouge our customers, using the increasingly common tactic of threats and removal of programming,” said Bill Morand, Charter Communications director of communications for the Great Lakes Region. “They are attempting to extort Charter for hundreds of millions of dollars. We will continue to work towards a fair agreement.”
Representatives from FSD did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Fox Sports Detroit is scheduled to carry all but a few Tigers games this season. It’s also the TV home of the Detroit Red Wings and Detroit Pistons, though their seasons just ended.
Charter Spectrum’s coverage map in Michigan includes the Saginaw Bay area, most of the northern half of Lower Peninsula and half of the Upper Peninsula. It serves more than 700,000 customers, according to Morand.
MultiChannel.com reports that the problem started when Time Warner purchased Charter in May, which allowed Charter to pay Fox a lower carrier rate. But the Time Warner rate expired March 31, and Fox wanted Charter to honor its previous, higher rate, at which Charter has balked.
“Fox and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore,” Fox said in a released statement. “We are disappointed that, despite our best efforts over many months to resolve the situation without disruption, Charter’s 16 million subscribers may lose access to a wide variety of programming, including telecasts of the Detroit Tigers, Red Wings, Pistons and many other MLB, NBA and NHL teams on Fox Regional Sports Networks, FX’s hit dramas The Americans and Feud, and National Geographic.”
A similar issue between Time Warner, which owns the rights to Los Angeles Dodgers broadcasts, and the other cable companies in the L.A. area has kept a swath of that viewing area in the dark from Dodgers games for four consecutive seasons.