Unless you're yellow-blind, you probably caught that unsightly scrolling text over and over during Friday night's Jazz-Warriors telecast. Apparently, Dish and Comcast SportsNet are in the middle of a negotiation, and things aren't going well. As of Dec. 1, there's a chance Dish customers will be without CSN Bay Area, the channel that carries Warriors and Giants games.
This isn't just a Bay Area problem, either. CSN California (which carries A's games) and CSN Chicago (which usually carries the A's beating the White Sox) are similarly on the
chopping block negotiating table.
This is surely an example of a network playing hardball, right? It's not like Dish has a history of doing this with CSN New England or the Big Ten Network in New Jersey and Maryland, right? Oh.
Dish Network, with its carriage contracts expiring Dec. 1, alleges that the CSN regional networks are demanding too great an increase in fees. The figure cited varies depending on the source (as low as "double digits" and as high as 40%). CSN, however, claims that they only seek fair market value for their networks. Given CSN Bay Area's immense popularity (the most popular cable network in the Bay Area for the all-important 18-to-49-year-old demographic), a higher figure seems likely.
There is a bit of hope, though. In Dish Net's defense, CSN New England doesn't carry Red Sox or Patriots games -- just the Celtics. Its easy to understand why the Celtics network would have poor ratings, given the team's reconstruction. Thus, a bit of hardball may be warranted, given CSN's growing demands. Likewise, Rutgers (New Jersey) and Maryland (uh, Maryland?) are brand-new additions to the Big Ten Conference, so it's easy to see why fan interest in those new markets may be lagging for the network.
Sports television is a business, and we all understand that. Negotiations are a part of the process. But dropping Boston's CSN indicates that Dish Network has no qualms about walking away from the negotiating table -- even for a big sports region. Given the fact that Dish is having difficult negotiations with so many different regions, it's hard not to be worried about the future of Dubs basketball on Dish. After all, it's happening to many of our fellow hoops fans.
It's hard to think of a worse fate for Warriors fans: waiting their whole lifetimes for a glorious championship-caliber team, only to literally have the plug pulled early. Excuse me for thinking with my heart, Dish, because I know you're only looking out for your own interests. But I have interests, too: my Golden State Warriors. Don't push too far, Dish. Because come Dec. 1, you may have just lost a customer.