SBD/February 12, 2013/Media

Dish Network Claims ESPN Violated Deal By Offering Better Terms To Competitors

Dish Network attorneys yesterday told jurors that ESPN “offered more favorable rates for its sports programming to the satellite-television provider's competitors in violation of a long-running licensing agreement,” according to Chad Bray of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. However, a lawyer for ESPN said that Dish “wants to ‘cherry pick’ the best parts of agreements ESPN has reached with other cable providers and not take on the terms and conditions it finds unpalatable.” The trial is “the latest clash between cable- and satellite-television providers and TV networks over rising programming costs and addresses a federal lawsuit" in which Dish is seeking $152M in damages. Dish “claims a ‘most favored nation’ clause in the agreement, which Dish says entitles it to receive the same rates and cable-packaging options as other competitors.” The satellite-TV provider claims that ESPN “offered lower licensing rates for ESPN Deportes" to competitors and "offered Dish Network's competitors a better deal when it came to a cable-packaging placement for ESPN Classic.” ESPN claims that Dish is “essentially trying to use the most-favored-nation provision to renegotiate the deal in the middle of the contract” (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 2/12).

BACK IN THE FOLD: Blogger Ed Sherman reported former FanHouse.com columnist Jay Mariotti is “returning to ESPN.” Mariotti wrote in an e-mail that he is “working ‘a freelance storytelling’ assignment.” He added the assignment is “potentially a longer-form piece the network does so well,” and he has "started working on a particular project." Sherman wrote it “isn’t a surprise that Mariotti hooked up with ESPN again.” Even though he was “dismissed, Mariotti still continued to speak highly of the network, lauding the work done at various levels” (SHERMANREPORT.com, 2/11).

PERTINENT INFO: In Tampa, Tom Jones wrote ESPN's Lisa Salters had a “nice update during Sunday's Lakers-Heat broadcast on a special undershirt" that Lakers C Dwight Howard "wore to help with his injured right shoulder.” Salters explained on the ABC telecast that Howard “had to get permission from the NBA to wear it.” She “described in detail what the therapeutic undershirt did." Salters "deserves a pat on the back for the report.” Salters “does a heck of a job on ABC's NBA coverage, particularly with in-game interviews” (TAMPA BAY TIMES, 2/11).
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