Satellite TV operator Dish Network said Friday that News Corp.'s Fox television unit cut its access to 19 regional sports networks, FX and the National Geographic Channel after Dish refused to pay for a rate increase of more than 50 percent.
In a related development, Dish also stopped carrying MSG and MSG Plus, affecting New York-area sports fans, saying it refused to accept a "double digit" percentage rate hike proposal linked to carrying MSG sister channel Fuse, which it called a "low-rated music video channel."
Dish, controlled by billionaire Charlie Ergen, called Fox's rate hike demand "unprecedented" and said it was driven by what Fox has paid for the right to exclusive TV coverage of sports in local markets.
Their multiyear deal expired at midnight Thursday.
The dispute means that a portion of Dish's more than 14.3 million subscribers will be unable to watch early season hockey games while the fight continues. New York-area Dish subscribers of MSG and MSG Plus could also miss out on live hockey games of the Rangers, Islanders, Devils and Sabres starting next week.