On Sunday, Fox began warning DirecTV subscribers that they may lose access to Fox programming starting at midnight Pacific time this Friday, when the companies’ distribution agreement is set to expire.
If the two fail to reach a new deal before then, the blackout will block Fox’s broadcast stations, FS1, FS2, Big Ten Network, Fox Deportes and Fox Soccer Plus for subscribers to DirecTV satellite, DirecTV Stream and U-Verse TV.
That would mean losing access to the World Cup tournament, the Big Ten Championship game and the NFL, as well as Fox news and other broadcast programming.
“Despite our best efforts for months, we regret that DirecTV continues to demand unprecedented special treatment that represents a wholesale change to our longstanding relationship and is out of step with marketplace terms,” Fox asserted in a statement.
”At this point, any interruption of Fox programming depends solely on Fox alone,” countered DirecTV. “DirecTV has no intention to remove any Fox content. The best way for everyone to ‘Keep Fox’ is for Fox to keep making it available themselves. We’re working hard to reach an agreement to renew these Fox stations and national sports channels so customers can continue to enjoy them at a strong value. Based on our excellent track record with Fox, we’re confident we’ll come to terms ahead of any potential disruption. In fact, we’ve renewed nearly 200 local Fox stations much like these over the last few years."
DirecTV added: "Unfortunately, the same old, tired programmer scare tactics of putting customers into the middle of contract renewals tend to die hard. Fox invented this tactic back at the turn of the century, and has a long, long history of aggravating consumers to help try to boost their guaranteed rates, while most renewals are typically resolved without any interruptions. Just last month, Fox alerted Altice USA customers, only to settle without removing signals, while the same is true of other recent Fox renewals with Roku and the National Cable Television Cooperative, among others.”