Dish is alleging in a recently-filed lawsuit that ESPN violated a provision in its current carriage deal that Dish says requires ESPN to offer the "same terms" for carriage fees that it offered other major competitors. In other words, Dish thought it was getting a lowest-cost guarantee. Instead, they allege that ESPN gave Time Warner Cable a better deal on "ESPN Desportes", and allowed Comcast to drop some carriage (thus fees) of ESPN Classic channel in some of its cable systems.ESPN argues that the clause applies to the whole carriage package, and it shouldn't be held to minor differences in terms offered for specific network offerings, or where specific market factors create different marketing foci. And anyway, as one writer quipped -
One key bit information that hasn't been disclosed: How does one TV distributor know the specific details of another TV distributor’s deal? Aren’t those private contracts?
I'm not confident that Dish will win this, but they do provide a glimpse at the level of intense competition among multichannel video program distributors.
Source - Looking To Combat Sports Network Leverage -- Or At Least, High Fees, TV Watch