ESPN, Disney, & other networks returning to Dish & Sling TV

Dish and Disney have a “handshake deal” to immediately bring Disney’s cluster of cable networks back to Dish satellite and Sling TV customers.

As a result, Disney’s multiple channels and ESPN are back in time for Monday Night Football, but are Dish clients about to see a price increase?

The two companies approved the agreement late on Sunday night. “We are happy to temporarily restore our portfolio of networks while both parties work to complete a new deal,” Disney said in a notice.

The blackout endured two days, and although it included college football on Saturday, the two companies settled the situation in time for ESPN’s next broadcast of Monday Night Football.

Dish and Sling TV subscribers have now retrieved access to ESPN (and its affiliated networks), along with other channels like The Disney Channel, FX, National Geographic, local ABC programming in select markets, and more.

Dish asserted Disney needed “nearly a billion dollar increase” in fees compared to the lapsed agreement and was driving Dish to bundle ESPN across more of its satellite TV plans, including some that don’t presently include sports networks.

Disney countered by stating its terms “reflect the marketplace and have been the foundation for countless successful deals with pay-TV providers of all types and sizes across the country.”

On Saturday, Dish blamed Disney for “walking away from the negotiation table” during struggles to renew their carriage contract. “Disney is more curious in becoming a monopolistic dominion than providing its programming to viewers beneath fair terms,” Dish said in a press release after the earlier deal expired.

Whether Sling and Dish TV clients will see a subscription cost hike shortly after the two sides hammer out a definitive agreement, Sling TV’s Orange tier, the package that encloses Disney networks, presently costs $35 per month.

That’s one of the cheapest ways to acquire linear ESPN compared to services such as Disney’s own Hulu with Live TV, which expends $69.99 per month, and YouTube TV, which is $64.99 per month.

Carriage renewal disputes between programmers and TV providers are nothing new — Disney and YouTube butted heads the previous year — but this one was unusual in that Dish didn’t contribute much warning to its clients before the October 1st blackout.