Variety's Brian Steinberg reports that Fox Sports 1 and AT&T U-Verse are in a battle that may cost the cable server's 6 million homes a chance to watch eight USGA events.
At issue is Fox Sports 1 adding many rights (fees) that did not exist prior to the last agreement with AT&T, so Fox is threatening not to beam, say, the USGA Four-Ball and other recently acquired packages like NASCAR to AT&T U-Verse customers. The blackout of select content provides a new twist in the various cable company spats with content providers.
In the current fight, Fox Sports 1 is trying to get paid for programming that was not in place when its carriage deal with AT&T was established. Nascar signed a new deal in 2013 that moved its events to Fox and NBC from Walt Disney’s ESPN and Time Warner’s Turner Sports for this year. Many of the other events at the center of the new dispute were also added to Fox Sports 1 after it secured carriage rights.
AT&T U-verse has approximately 6 million subscribers, according to market research firm SNL Kagan.
Fox Sports 1 said it had made “attempts to negotiate an agreement that extends to these events.” Unless each side’s stance changes, U-verse subscribers may miss out on a Nascar race tomorrow.
And the U.S. Junior Amateur!
Fox Sports signed a 12-year (12 years!) rights deal with the USGA in August, 2013, but this is the first time since handing the USGA a lavish sum that there has been any sign of squeezing cable companies for the privilege of showing USGA championships. Something tells me the AT&T folks aren't going to budge on this one for a while.