Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) and Walt Disney Co. (NYSE:DIS) have until Monday night to work out a deal regarding retransmission fees, or Dish customers could lose access to Disney’s programming, which includes popular networks ABC and ESPN, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The two parties have been negotiating since earlier this month. Dish CEO Charlie Ergen has been outspoken about his belief that sports programming has become too expensive for pay-TV providers; ESPN is the most expensive television network. While Ergen has tossed around the idea of offering a cheaper, sports-free package to customers, he hasn’t gone forward with those plans just yet.
Dish has 14 million subscribers, many of whom would likely be unhappy at the prospect of losing Disney programming and, in particular, ESPN. Dish’s chances of losing customers to rival services give Disney some leverage in the negotiations, but as of late, pay-TV providers have been more reluctant to allow networks to demand high fees.