Today is a day that ESPN will surely hope to forget as soon as possible. The sports behemoth, a virtual sports monopoly in this day and age, was being sued by the Dish Network for a breach in the terms of their 2005 licensing agreement.
And while ESPN was cleared of three of the four charges, the fourth is the one that is going to cost them some money. Dish was awarded $4.86 million after the judge found that they had proven their allegation.
The suit was fought over in a New York City federal court for the better part of three weeks, as Dish tried to prove ESPN violated a "most favored nation" clause in their eight-year licensing agreement. That deal gave Dish the right to receive equal treatment on subscriber rates and packaging deals that ESPN provided to its competitors.
Dish said this did not happen, as ESPN allowed Comcast to remove packaging requirements involving ESPN Classic. That move switched the tier it could be provided to, which Dish said was an unfair service. Additionally, they said that DirecTV, Verizon and Time Warner Cable are allowed lower subscriber rates on ESPN Deportes and a la carte rights with ESPNHD, ESPN Classis, ESPNU and ESPN 2.
Dish sought more than $150 million, so it is not a home run for them in any way.