Fox and DirecTV renew carriage deal in 18 markets, avoiding blackout

Fox Corporation and DirecTV negotiated a new carriage agreement over the weekend, averting a channel blackout that would have affected 18 markets.

The companies’ previous deal expired last Friday at midnight, and Fox afterwards informed DirecTV users that it was still working on reaching a “fair agreement” with the satellite service.

“Despite our best efforts for months, we regret that DirecTV continues to demand unprecedented special treatment that represents a wholesale change to our long-standing relationship and is out of step with marketplace terms,” Fox said in a statement posted on the now defunct “” website.

In response to Fox, DirecTV expressed confidence that the parties will “come to terms ahead of any potential disruption.”

“In fact, we’ve renewed nearly 200 local Fox stations much like these over the last few years,” stated DirecTV, boasting an “excellent track record” with Fox.

Channels covered under the carriage renewal include Fox Sports, Big Ten Network, Fox Deportes, Fox Soccer Plus as well as Fox owned-and-operated local stations. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Fox in October renewed a distribution agreement with Altice USA, averting a blackout that would have affected Altice’s Optimum TV customers in New York, as reported by NextTV.

As for DirecTV, it’s currently in the midst of a carriage dispute with Mission Broadcasting. Twenty-five Mission stations were pulled off DirecTV across 21 markets in October. Nexstar Media Group is also involved in the dispute, as it manages the impacted stations through a shared services agreement.

DirecTV and Fox’s renewed agreement comes a week after Dish Network pulled Cox Media Group stations in nine markets, with Dish stating Cox was demanding a “massive retransmission fee.” Dish is also facing a carriage dispute with Standard Media.

If DirecTV subscribers had lost access to Fox channels, they would have potentially missed out on World Cup soccer coverage, as Fox Sports holds the U.S. English-language broadcasting rights for the games.

Fox Sports recently touted record viewership for sporting events, as the November 25 U.S. vs. England World Cup match drew 15.4 million viewers on the network. Additionally, 42 million people tuned into Fox’s coverage of this year’s NFL Thanksgiving game, featuring the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants.

According to Fox Sports, the recent Cowboys-Giants match is now the most-watched NFL regular season game on record across all TV networks.