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Dish, Sling Resolve Contract Dispute with Disney, ESPN

Disney television channels are back on Dish Network as of Monday morning after a two-day blackout left viewers without access to the Week 5 slate of college football games on various Disney-owned networks. 

Disney said in a statement to Axios on Monday the company reached “a handshake agreement with DISH/Sling TV,” allowing them “to restore our portfolio of networks on a temporary basis while both parties work to finalize a new deal.” The agreement comes just in time for Dish users to tune in to Monday Night Football on ABC and the ESPN family of networks. 

Dish also released a brief message, thanking customers for their “patience and support.”

The blackout began early in the morning on Saturday when Dish Network pulled all of Disney’s 20 television channels off of their satellite television service and Sling TV after the two companies failed to renew their carriage deal ahead of a midnight PT deadline on Sept. 30. Channels affected included ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, ESPN Deportes, ACC Network, SEC Network, Longhorn Network, as well as various local ABC affiliates. 

According to Dish, Disney asked for a $1 billion increase in fees and declined Dish’s offer for a contract extension. Dish also claimed that Disney demanded that ESPN and ESPN2 be included in Dish TV packages that excluded sports channels, in addition to requiring users to pay for local channels, even if they were unwanted.

Disney responded at the time, saying that Dish rejected its “fair, market-based agreement” after “months of negotiating in good faith.”

With the temporary agreement in place, Dish users will be able to tune in to watch the Rams and 49ers on Monday Night Football. Kickoff is scheduled for 8:15 p.m. ET.

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