FOX Sports Detroit Blackout On DISH Network Couldn’t Be Happening At A Better Time
Sports fans in Michigan who use DISH Network or Sling to watch games on FOX Sports Detroit have been without the channel since Friday, July 26th. And honestly, it doesn't seem like anyone really cares, including some of the most dedicated sports fans.
If you read the comments sections on any story about this situation, most people are saying "who cares, our teams suck anyways" or something along those lines. You'll see an occasional comment about corporate greed, but not much passion behind it. And certainly no strong demands for action. It's bizarre, but understandable.
The reason for the blackout is a dispute between DISH Network and FOX Sports and, as expected when these things happen, both sides are blaming each other for the blackout while customers get caught in the middle of it. 21 regional Fox Sports outlets across the country, including the one in Detroit that airs the majority of Tigers, Red Wings and Pistons games, have been pulled from DISH as the two companies argue over rates and contracts. As of Tuesday, July 30th, there was no update and over the weekend there wasn't any discussion between the two companies. It appears we have a stalemate for now.
But here is why this couldn't be better timing for Detroit sports fans. Let's face it... the Tigers are terrible and are on pace for one of their worst seasons in franchise history. The Detroit Free Press, citing data from sports media site Awful Announcing, says that Tigers broadcasts this season are averaging a 2.87 rating, down 7% from 2018. In 2013, while the team was making deep playoff runs, the Tigers averaged a 9.59 rating which was number 1 in all of baseball.
Imagine if this had happened anytime between 2011 and 2014 from a Tigers standpoint. The outrage and demands for a resolution to this would be through the roof. Or if this had happened between 2002 and 2009, when the Red Wings and Pistons were going strong and also making deep playoff runs every year.
My, how times have changed.
This dispute could go well into the fall without a large amount a blow back. Pistons and Red Wings fans will probably get a little anxious if this thing drags on into October, and perhaps then there will be a louder voice demanding action. But the most dedicated fans might just find another option (there are many out there) to get programming for those games when the NBA and NHL begin their 2019-2020 seasons.
Heck, perhaps the biggest loss will be if it goes into November and the MHSAA High School Football state championships aren't broadcast on DISH. Otherwise, we can probably live without it, given the current state of the pro teams in our region.