Fox Network Group’s ongoing dispute with Charter communications has dragged on for months but it appears to be coming to a head soon and fans of the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks could be impacted negatively.
Fox first began telling Charter customers on April 8 that they were close to losing access to programming such as FX, National Geographic and Fox Sports among others. Local regional sports stations like Fox Sports South and Fox SportsSoutheast would also be included in the group. Fox has pushed back a couple of other deadlines to have a deal in place but the latest is April 12 which is today.
Multichannel News writer Mike Farrell reports that the dispute centers around Charter’s purchase of Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks.
According to people familiar with the matter, Fox Networks still has an ongoing carriage deal with legacy Charter, but its Time Warner Cable deal expired on March 31. Charter wants to continue paying Fox under the lower Time Warner Cable rate for all its systems, including the legacy Charter systems, while Fox wants all of Charter's 17 million customers to fall under the existing, pricier Charter legacy deal. It is similar to a dispute Fox News Channel has with Charter -- it filed a lawsuit last year to try to work it out -- that also has yet to be resolved. It should be noted that the Fox Networks Group channels were not part of the Fox News Channel suit and have not taken Charter to court over their impasse with the distributor.
Fox has set up a website at www.keepmynets.com to keep customers up to date on the dispute and the situation. They have also posted a channel map of the regional stations that could be affected. As you can see below, both Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Southeast are included. The Braves just began regular season play while the Hawks are headed to the postseason this weekend.
A Fox spokesperson issued the following statement about the dispute.
“Fox and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore. 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 Pacers on FOX Sports Indiana, as well as the St. Louis Cardinals and Blues, Kansas City Royals, Cleveland Cavaliers, Cincinnati Reds and many other MLB, NBA and NHL teams on Fox Regional Sports Networks, FX’s hit dramas The Americans and Feud, and National Geographic.”
If you are a Charter customer, you probably need to act now.