Dish Network drops NFL Network

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Dish Network Corp. has dropped the NFL Network, the National Football League-owned channel that has exclusive rights to eight Thursday night football games.

The channel went dark in seven million Dish homes Thursday night after the two sides were unable to come to terms on a new distribution contract for the service, which is one of the most expensive to carry. According to media industry consulting firm SNL Kagan, the NFL Network has a monthly fee of $1.31 per subscriber.

Besides carrying eight Thursday games exclusively, the channel also shares broadcast rights to 10 other Thursday games with NBC and CBS. In addition, its programming includes news and information on all things NFL. The network is also starting to offer more original programming as well. However, when it doesn’t have a game on, ratings for the NFL Network tend to be very small.

Dish has in the past railed against the rising costs of sports channels. While it carries ESPN and other sports outlets, it steers clear of most regional sports networks that carry local baseball, basketball and hockey. Like other pay-TV distributors, Dish has offered the NFL Network on a specialty tier of channels instead of requiring that all of its 14 million customers pay for it.

Click here for the full report in The Wall Street Journal.