Dish Network vs. Fox Sports Midwest

Dish Network vs. Fox Sports Midwest

Did you see the Blues game last night? If you have Dish Network you probably didn’t. As if the whole DirecTV / Versus controversy wasn’t enough, news broke yesterday that Dish Network was refusing to air 35 (34 following the “blackout” last night – schedule below) games on the 74 game Fox Sports Midwest (FSMW) schedule. What follows is a look into the situation as well as a breakdown of who really is to blame here and who Blues fans should be angry with.

**Please also read the latest addition to this saga, a revisited look at some of the events and some other thoughts on this ordeal. This more recent story can be found here.**

Well that certainly was a surprise. News broke via various Blues sources on Twitter that Dish Network customers would be out of luck tonight if they hoped to watch the Blues take on Phoenix. What? That came out of no where. The news was almost as surprising as the whole balloon boy saga that took place earlier yesterday afternoon (which by the way, who else thought it was obvious the kid was chillin’ at home?).

Here are the facts. Fox Sports Midwest has 70 remaining Blues game on their schedule. 34 of these will not be seen if you subscribe to Dish Network. Last season FSMW televised 51 games, but raised the number to 74 following the removal of any Blues coverage from the local station KPLR. With the bump up to 74 games, FSMW decided to increase the rate for carrying the channel. Charter, AT&T and Direct all came to an agreement while Dish currently has not, leaving many Blues fans in the dark. Mediacom, a small provider which services southwest Missouri and parts of Illinois, finds itself in the same boat as Dish Network and will face the blackouts as well.

Dish Network said the price was too steep. The Blues themselves said the matter is out of their hands.

Who is to blame and who should we be mad at? A lot of talk I have heard is pointing the angry finger at Dish, but the truth appears to be cleverly hidden by those at FSMW. Take last night for instance. Roughly 10 minutes of the game was shown before being cut to other FSMW programming as a banner ran on the screen informing people they should call Dish and complain.

And there is the smoking gun. Clearly the main culprit here is FSMW who wants more money. If this truly was a Dish problem, no programming would have ran on the channel and we would have seen a blank signal last night. Instead, we see other FSMW programming that FSMW elected to run rather than the game. Dish states they are just using the feed FSMW gives them. FSMW cleverly ran a few moments of the game before yanking the signal away in order to make Dish appear to be the enemy when in truth FSMW could have shown the game but chose not to.

An e-mail from FSMW pins the blame on Dish, saying that it was Dish that elected not to show the game last night and that FSMW is offering the games, while in fact it was them who pulled the plug.

Looks like a lot of word games and a lot of misinformation here, which is a shame since it poorly reflects the club/organization who have no leverage or say in the matter.

One of the most irritating aspects of this story is that no word of it was mentioned until literally a couple hours before the game was set to drop the puck. Then a quick campaign from FSMW of “Call Dish – they are the only people to blame” ensued. How did word of this not get out sooner that the two sides were miles away from a deal? Why are people thinking this is only Dish’s fault, when they are streaming the feed that FSMW controls which means the game was pulled not by Dish, but by your friendly FSMW executives.

34 more games is an enormous amount. People will not tolerate it, and judging by some user feedback, people have already threatened ending their service with Dish.

Until this whole disagreement comes to a conclusion (if it does), Blues fans with Dish around the local area are forced to either 1) bug their friends who are not Dish subscribers to let them come over or 2) stream the game from their computer.

As many have said, this is another hit to a game that already is struggling to gain ground on the other major sports, and is the last thing that should be happening at this time. Greed might well be killing off some of the major strides hockey has taken specifically in the St. Louis market.

Has this problem had an impact on you? Sound off in the comments.


List of games that might be blacked out:

Thursday Oct. 15 at Phoenix 9 p.m. FSMW HD
Friday Oct. 23 Minnesota 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Wednesday Oct. 28 at Carolina 6 p.m. FSMW
Thursday Oct. 29 Phoenix 7 p.m. FSMW HD

Thursday Nov. 5 Calgary 7:30 p.m. FSMW HD
Sunday Nov. 8 at Atlanta 4 p.m. FSMW
Thursday Nov. 12 Nashville 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Monday Nov. 23 Boston 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Saturday Nov. 28 Detroit 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Monday Nov. 30 at Columbus 6 p.m. FSMW

Monday Dec. 7 Colorado 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Wednesday Dec. 9 at Detroit 6:30 p.m. FSMW HD
Friday Dec. 11 Edmonton 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Friday Dec. 18 Tampa Bay 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Saturday Dec. 26 at Minnesota 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Sunday Dec. 27 Buffalo 5 p.m. FSMW HD
Tuesday Dec. 29 Nashville 7 p.m. FSMW HD

Saturday Jan. 2 Chicago 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Tuesday Jan. 12 Columbus 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Saturday Jan. 16 NY Rangers 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Wednesday Jan. 20 at Montreal 6:30 p.m. FSMW
Monday Jan. 25 at Calgary 8:30 p.m. FSMW
Wednesday Jan. 27 at Vancouver 9 p.m. FSMW

Wednesday Feb. 3 at Chicago 7:30 p.m. FSMW
Thursday Feb. 4 San Jose 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Friday Feb. 12 Toronto 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Saturday Feb. 13 Washington 7 p.m. FSMW HD

Tuesday Mar. 2 at Phoenix 8 p.m. FSMW HD
Thursday Mar. 11 at NY Islanders 6 p.m. FSMW
Thursday Mar. 18 at NY Rangers 6 p.m. FSMW
Saturday Mar. 20 at New Jersey 6 p.m. FSMW
Wednesday Mar. 24 at Detroit 6:30 p.m. FSMW HD
Thursday Mar. 25 Los Angeles 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Saturday Apr. 3 Dallas 7 p.m. FSMW HD
Wednesday Apr. 7 at Chicago 7:30 p.m. FSMW