Dish vs. ESPN

Want to know why your Cable or Satellite bill are so high?

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Then you might want to keep your eyes on a New York Courtroom.

The Hollywood Reporter writes that on Monday, a jury heard opening arguments in Dish Network's lawsuit against ESPN for allegedly breaching the terms of a licensing agreement. The satellite company is claiming more than $150 million in damages emanating from the Disney-owned sports division's deals with other pay-TV distributors like Comcast, DirecTV and TIme Warner Cable.

At the trial, Barry Ostrager, a lawyer for Dish Network, gave an overview of what Dish is alleging.

"In violation of this most-favored nation provision, ESPN provided more favorable terms to Dish's competitors and made the calculated decision not to offer those terms to Dish," said Ostrager, a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett.

This is the third major piece of litigation involving Dish in the past year.

The other two cases involved the ongoing legal war with broadcasters over Dish's ad-skipping DVR AutoHop and the settled lawsuit over the termination of AMC's Voom HD Network on the Dish Network.

This third case between Dish and ESPN, which has been pending in a New York federal court since 2009, might end up being most notable for shedding light on various confidential contracts throughout the TV industry.

To win on its claim that the MNF provisions of its contract was violated, Dish will need to show that others in the industry got more favorable treatment. And to prove that, jurors may be shown side-by-side comparisons of contracts and hear testimony from expert witnesses explaining the nuances of the business.

"This is a complicated case," said one of Dish's lawyers in a pre-trial hearing during this case. "These are not simple claims. There are 13 of them. They're based on 18 contracts; they're based on provisions that the parties have disputes over how to interpret language, not only in the DISH-ESPN agreement, but also the meaning of the terms in these other third-party contracts."

Read the rest of the story from The Hollywood Reporter

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