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Sun Sports, and the Tampa Bay Lightning, could be off Bright House on January 1



In  case you haven't been following the dispute between Fox TV owner News Corp. and Time Warner, know that the disagreement could deprive Bright House cable subscribers of Sun Sports programming, including Tampa Bay Lightning games, beginning Friday.

The dispute comes down to money. News Corp. wants Time Warner to pay a certain amount to re-transmit its programming. Time Warner is balking and negotiations are continuing. If an agreement is not reached by Friday, Time Warner custmers could lose access to Fox broadcast affiliates, cable channels and regional sports channels. Since Time Warner secures content for Bright House,  Fox properties could be discontinued, including Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida.

The first Lightning game to be affected would be Saturday's with the Penguins.

A Fox spokesman, in an authorized statement, said on Tuesday, "We are not optimistic an agreement will be in place Jan. 1, and fans should begin making alternative plans to see Sun Sports' Lightning telecasts and other local sports programming airing on Sun Sports and Fox Sports Florida."

It should be noted, Sun Sports and all other Fox programming will still be available on all other cable and satellite providers in the Tampa Bay area. And Bright House spokesman Joe Durkin said News Corp., if it so chooses, could continue its Fox programming on Bright House even if the deadline passes and negotiations continue.

Either way, Durkin said, he is "optimistic an agreement can be reached." 

Lightning spokesman Bill Wickett voiced optimism, too, but concern as well.

"Obviously, we are keenly interested observers on this one, and we hope Fox and Time Warner can get something done to prevent any programming from being lost in viewers' homes," he said. "We are concerned for Lightning fans and will continue to monitor the situation closely but have confidence that the companies will work hard to reach a deal before the deadline." 

[Last modified: Thursday, January 28, 2010 12:15am]


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