NFL Network, Dish Network strike carriage deal

The NFL Network has secured rights to live broadcasts of an eight-game regular season package in 2006 after Dish Network agreed to carry the service on its most widely distributed tier, a New York judge said last week.

However, New York Supreme Court Judge Richard Lowe refused to immediately order Dish Network to put NFL Network back on “America’s Top 100” pending resolution of a trial on the case that has been scheduled for June.

Lowe ruled that the network’s simulcast of a historic New England Patriots-New York Giants game in December 2007 — the action that prompted Dish to move NFL Network from its “America’s Top 100” — “did not trigger the specific contract provisions allowing EchoStar to drop the NFL to a lower level of service.”

The NFL Network sued Dish Network after the satellite provider moved the network to its “America’s Top 200” tier Feb. 20 last year. The sports network said it then lost about 4 million subscribers.

Dish Network pulled NFL Network from the “free preview” in is “America’s Top 100” package last year, moving it to its “America’s Top 200” tier. Dish claimed the simulcast of the game violated its contract with NFL Network.