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Fox and Dish squabble kills Thursday Night Football for millions

Dish has terminated access to Fox’s channels in 17 markets across 23 states and the District of Columbia following a licensing deal dispute — leaving millions of subscribers with no choice but to find another means of tuning in to Thursday’s Packers-Eagles game, which just so happens to be the first match that will be broadcast over Fox’s satellite waves in 4K HDR.

Fox cable networks FS1, FS2, Big 10 Network, Fox Soccer Plus, and Fox Deportes have also been removed, Dish said. Fox News has emerged unscathed because it reportedly wasn’t part of the contract in question.

As is so often the case in carrier disputes, it’s hard to tell who’s at fault here. Fox claims Dish flipped the switch, cutting off access for subscribers; Dish insists Fox is to blame, insisting that the network pulled the plug in an attempt to strong-arm it into inking an agreement that includes a double-digit percentage increase and several unrelated cable networks that Fox bundled in to bump up the total cost.

The current dispute is reminiscent to the one that ended HBO’s relationship with Dish Network and its streaming vertical, Sling TV. HBO is still unavailable on either service with no end to the dispute in sight.

“Dish/Sling is at it again, choosing to drop leading programming as a negotiating tactic regardless of the impact on its own customers,” Fox said in its statement. “While we regret this is Dish/Sling’s preferred approach to negotiating, we remind our loyal viewers that the Fox services are widely available through every other major television provider,” the network added.

Fox’s actions are profoundly anti-consumer,” argued Andy LeCuyer, Dish’s Senior Vice President of Programming. “Fox is raising prices and turning its back on its public obligation to provide channels to consumers for free. It’s clear that Fox cares more about padding its bottom line than serving its viewers,” he added, stressing how devastating the loss will be for NFL fans.

If you’re affected by the outage and are desperately looking for a way to tune into the next Thursday Night Football match, we have the solution — we’ve rounded up all the best ways to stream the action online.

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