That’s because the dispute over carriage fees between Fox and Charter Communications — one of the largest cable carriers in Minnesota and the United States as a whole — could lead Fox to black out programming on all its related channels on Charter.
And yes, that includes the regional network Fox Sports North, and the blackout could start as early as today. As of 10:20 a.m., multiple Charter customers in the Twin Cities reported they are still able to get FSN on their cable systems.
But if FSN is blacked out, that means you wouldn’t be able to watch the Twins game at noon Tuesday — and any subsequent games until the conflict is resolved. It would also mean you wouldn’t be able to watch the final two Timberwolves games of the season.
Of chief importance: FSN broadcasts of the Wild’s first-round playoff series against St. Louis would also be impacted. You can still watch Games 1, 2 and 4 on NBC Sports Network if you have that channel. Game 3, though, is exclusive to NBC. The TV lineup for Games 5-7 is still TBA.
A statement from Fox reads in part: “FOX and Charter Spectrum have an agreement to carry the Fox networks that Charter has chosen to ignore. We are disappointed that despite our best efforts over many months to resolve the situation without disruption, Charter’s 16 million subscribers may lose access to a wide variety of programming, including telecasts of the Minnesota Twins, Timberwolves and Wild.”
These disputes tend to get worked out before anything drastic happens, with both sides waging a public battle designed to get the financial deal they want until one of them caves.
That said, the longer this dispute drags on, the more likely it is that there would be real consequences for consumers. For Minnesota fans, it would come at a very inopportune time.