ESPN on Wednesday maintained that it was in "full compliance" with its carriage agreement with Dish Network and said it would fight the satellite TV operator's federal lawsuit demanding at least $1 million in damages for allegedly violating the terms of the two parties' agreement.
In a statement, ESPN said it offered the satellite TV operator the same distribution options for the ESPNU and EPSN Classic services that it extended to other affiliates.
"We have repeatedly advised Dish that we are in full compliance with our agreement and have offered them a distribution opportunity with respect to ESPNU and ESPN Classic consistent with the rest of the industry," ESPN said in a statement issued late Wednesday. "We will not renegotiate settled contracts and will vigorously defend this legal action, the apparent sole purpose of which is to get a better deal."
Dish filed suit Aug. 4 against ESPN in a Manhattan federal court, charging that ESPN cut deals with Comcast and DirecTV for ESPN Classic and ESPNU with terms "Dish understands are more favorable" than those Dish had agreed to.
ESPN's deals with Comcast and DirecTV, announced in May, were designed to widen distribution of ESPNU in exchange for distributors repositioning Classic on less widely penetrated tiers.