In an effort to spur direct-broadcast satellite sales, EchoStar Communications Corp. has joined with retail chain Sears, Roebuck & Co. to offer a free pay-per-view sports package with the purchase of a Dish Network system.
Consumers purchasing a dish from any of the approximately 1,600 Sears stores nationwide and activating Dish Network before Sept. 30 will receive the "ESPN Game Plan" college-football out-of-market package free-of-charge, EchoStar vice president of programming Michael Schwimmer said.
ESPN Game Plan-which offers up to up to 12 games per week and more than 100 games in all-retails for a suggested $99.
For current Dish owners, EchoStar is offering ESPN Game Plan at an "early bird" price of $89 through Aug. 31. Dish Network customers may also purchase each Saturday's lineup of games, which begin Sept. 9, for only $11.95 for the entire day.
"For the third year, Dish Network satisfies college-football fans with ESPN Game Plan's finest college-football package, allowing Dish Network customers to watch the most NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association] football games," Schwimmer said.
"We're also pleased to work with ESPN and Sears in this exclusive promotion because together, we are offering more value for Dish Network customers when they purchase a system from Sears," he added.
"We're delighted that Dish Network customers will once again have access to the great schedule of college-football action available through ESPN Game Plan," ESPN vice president, video-products group Skip Desjardin said in a prepared statement.
"ESPN Game Plan allows Dish Network customers to kick off a new century of college football by ensuring that they get maximum college-football coverage this fall," Desjardin added.
Along with the ESPN Game Plan deal, customers also have the opportunity to receive a free Dish system from Sears after a $199 automatic rebate.
New customers who purchase a Dish satellite-TV system from Sears and sign up for one year of any Dish programming package that totals at least $39.98 per month will receive a $199 rebate check from Dish after the first programming payment, Schwimmer said.
In other Dish PPV news, English Premier League soccer games began on PPV Aug. 19. The package-which runs through mid-May 2001 and which will include more than 60 league games-retails at a suggested price of $249, EchoStar officials said.
Saturday-only or Sunday-only games cost $129 for the season, or can be purchased individually for $14.95 each. Saturday games begin at 10 a.m., while Sunday contests start at 11 a.m.