ESPN paying $153 million in damages to DISH? – DIS, CMCSA, DTV, TWC, VZ & T

Boston, MA 02/28/2013 (wallstreetpr) – DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) is legally seeking damages worth $153 million from The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s ESPN. The allegation is that ESPN has breached a same-term clause in its distribution agreement with DISH and is now offering its competitors like Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) better terms on licenses for sports programming. ESPN averred before a jury in the Manhattan Federal court that no other distributor had been provided with better packaging or rate terms than the ones that DISH currently has. It was a calculated decision on the part of the company not to offer DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) the same terms.

Unfair treatment?

The lawyer for Connecticut-based ESPN said that the contract has a provision for fairness but that DISH wants special benefits with better deals. DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) said that ESPN had offered the largest pay-TV company, Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) the right to distribute ESPNU the college-sports network to taverns and bars on better terms and ESPN Classic distribution as part of the lesser watched segment of channels. The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) is saying that DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) did not agree to put a poorly watched channel ESPN Classic on its package that has the second most penetration in the market. Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) on the other hand had agreed to its terms and the company found that deal a more profitable one.

No big deal

Diane Sullivan the ESPN lawyer told the jury that DISH was demanding a refund of $79 million from Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS)’s ESPN based on what can be termed as a tortured contract-reading. The company had signed an eight-year agreement with DISH in 2005. In 2009 DISH learned from news reports and press releases that ESPN had made certain deals with Direct TV and Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA). Since then ESPN has signed more favorable deals with Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ), Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T Inc (NYSE:T).

Shares of DISH Network Corp (NASDAQ:DISH) went down by 0.77% to close at $34.87

Shares of The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) went up by 1.08% to close at $54.48

Shares of Comcast Corporation (NASDAQ:CMCSA) went up by 1.16% to close at $40.15

Shares of DIRECTV (NASDAQ:DTV) went up by 0.60% to close at $48.45

Shares of Time Warner Cable Inc (NYSE:TWC) went up by 1.80% to close at $88.02

Shares of Verizon Communications Inc (NYSE:VZ) went up by 0.50% to close at $46.35

Shares of AT&T Inc (NYSE:T) went up by 1.01% to close at $35.85

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Published by Van Bettauer

Van Bettauer is a financial aficionado from Vancouver, British Columbia. He currently studies at UBC, pursuing a Bachelors of Science degree. Van has been freelance writing for many years, specializing in copywriting, report writing and article writing. The combination of his scientific studies and writing experience brings a new and fresh perspective to the financial world. Visit Bettauer's Google+ page at the following address: