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DISH Network Moves ESPN Classic channel from Top 200 to the Multi-Sports Pack

Updated on May 8, 2013
ESPN Classic is a cult favorite, but may be losing traction as indicated by DISH's recent move of the channel to the Multi-Sports pack, instead of the Top 200 (formerly Silver 200)
ESPN Classic is a cult favorite, but may be losing traction as indicated by DISH's recent move of the channel to the Multi-Sports pack, instead of the Top 200 (formerly Silver 200)

DISH Network moved ESPN Classic from the America's Top 200 to the Multi-Sports Pack

On March 20, 2010, in the early morning, DISH Network moved a popular cult classic TV channel, ESPN Classic, to their Multi-Sports Pack. ESPN Classic used to be in the America's Top 200 channel package (formerly known as the Classic Silver 200). The road is split right down the middle; some are upset by this unannounced change to their channel line-up, others don't really care.The untold story is; Where DISH stands in all of this?

Quite frankly, the decision was not really DISH's to make, but a carefully planned move by ESPN themselves!

Do you actively watch ESPN Classic?

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ESPN required DISH, Directv, and Comcast to reposition ESPN Classic into different packages

In a deliberate move by ESPN to reposition some of their channels, ESPN Classic fans may find themselves at a disadvantage. ESPN is specifically trying to increase its viewership on a channel called ESPNU, or ESPN University (clearly focused on delivering college sports content). In a deal with DISH, Directv, and Comcast, ESPN has specifically requested they make ESPNU available to more customers in exchange for moving ESPN Classic to a more exclusive, or premium subscription package.

That is exactly what happened.

DISH Network moved ESPNU to the America's Top 120 (formerly known as the Classic Bronze 100) in late 2009. Several months later, it followed this move by repositioning the ESPN Classic channel in their premium sports add-on package, called The Multi-Sports Pack, which is priced a la carte at $5.99 per month. So, customers with the Multi-Sports pack, added to one of their America's Top, or Classic programming package, will not notice a change at all. But, customers who thought they were sitting pretty with the America's Top 200 will have to upgrade to watch ESPN Classic.

Directv and Comcast have both repositioned ESPN Classic into their own respective Sports Packages.

Learn about the Multi-Sports Pack, ESPN Classic, and us, a DISH Network retailer

The Multi-Sports pack, currently offered by DISH Network to customers for $5.99 per month, now contains the recently repositioned channel, ESPN Classic, as well as a host of regional sports networks (RSNs) and the super-popular NFL RedZone channel.

ESPN Classic is a 24-hour, all-sports network devoted to telecasting the greatest games, stories, heroes and memories in the history of sports. ESPN Classic presents programming from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, boxing (including the ESPN Big Fights Library), tennis, golf, college football and basketball, Olympics and others. ESPN Classic is a wholly owned subsidiary of ESPN, The Worldwide Leader in Sports.

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DISH Network gets upset, and sues ESPN

Some time last year, 2009, DISH Network filed a lawsuit against ESPN claiming it had violated their agreement, and offered competitors Directv and Comcast "More favorable terms" in regards to their ESPN channels. DISH is claiming in excess of $1 Million dollars in damages, with the final amount to be determined in court. I'll update this article when the results from that clash are announced. My bet? They'll rule in favor of DISH Network.

If you're a DISH customer, and you lost ESPN Classic, what can you do?

Simple. Call DISH Network and upgrade your account to include the Multi-Sports pack for $5.99 per month. Even customers with the America's Everything Pack will now be required to subscribe to the Multi-Sports pack. Anyone with the America's Top 120, 200, or 250 (Formerly known as the Classic Bronze 100, Silver 200, or Gold 250) who is without the Multi-Sports pack will not be receiving the ESPN Classic programming TV channel.

Be assured, this is not some underhanded move by DISH Network to scam some upgrades out of their customers. Quite the contrary. DISH is responding to a contractual obligation issued by ESPN. DISH consistently strives to earn excellent marks in customer satisfaction, and they do so. Frequently DISH scores considerably higher than some of their fiercest competitors, like Directv, Verizon, Comcast, and others.

Thanks, and stay tuned for more DISH Network Talk!

Satellite Solutions Network, Inc.
A DISH Network retailer.
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    • profile image

      alleylovesnascar 7 years ago

      this sucks!!! can not watch nascar cause they r airing football---i think maybe nascar needs 2 let "ESPN" go

    • profile image

      mrkeno 7 years ago

      forget espn classic

      where is the mlb network

      comcast and direct carry it

    • profile image

      Nick 7 years ago

      ESPN Classic > ESPNU > Stuart Scott's glass eye

    • DISH Network Talk profile image

      DISH Network Talk 7 years ago from Florida

      Thanks to everyone for commenting. I did not expect the feedback to be entirely positive with this one, but I did feel the urge to shed the light on this scenario, as it bears the potential to be misunderstood without additional clarification.

      And you know, there are always going to be people who think every business move is some elaborate underhanded scheme. So be it. There is no sense in continuing the dialogue down that road.

      Thanks again, everyone!

    • profile image

      Mark 7 years ago

      Bring back ESPN classic!

    • profile image

      eddie1962 8 years ago

      I suppose this was the best deal your company could negotiate for your loyal customers. Especially the ones that already paid extra for the top plans.I'm sure. I would think that ESPN needs you more than you need them.You can tell them at your next negotiations that this customer will not fall for the upgrade scheme. When you do this to enough channels I will probably go to movie rentals and local TV.If you want more money then offer more programming not existing programming. Thanks for sticking up for your customers.

    • profile image

      8bitjeff 8 years ago

      Thanks, Dish. I get the problem now. Thanks for the clarification. What was ESPN/Disney thinking? Why force ESPN Classic to a new tier in favor or ESPNU even for those who already get both? What is the monthly cost they want back for each ESPNC subscriber?

    • DISH Network Talk profile image

      DISH Network Talk 8 years ago from Florida


      I hear you loud and clear. But I assure you, this was not done by DISH's choice alone. I would also recommend reaching out to ESPN and voicing your disapproval there as well.

    • profile image

      8bitjeff 8 years ago

      This sucks. I have had the everything pack / HD Platinum for many years now and I have never had anything like this happen (except one remotely similar instance below). I don't think Dish was forced to add the channel to the Sports Pack for those us of that already received both ESPNU and ESPNC. They only needed to do this for those this did not currently receive both in a lower tier. I find the loss of this channel as ridiculous as when GOL TV was removed and we were promised ESPND or FSE but received neither and the promise quietly went away. It might be time for FIOS...

    • DISH Network Talk profile image

      DISH Network Talk 8 years ago from Florida

      Chris M,

      I just double checked with DISH CSR, and to my genuine befuddlement, you are correct. I've updated the article to reflect this recent change in the America's Everything Pack channel lineup.

    • profile image

      Chris M. 8 years ago

      Just letting people know that even with the America's Everything Pack you still lose ESPN Classics. I have the Everything Pack and ESPN Classics turned to a green bar. When I called up and inquired I was told that you can only get ESPN Classics by getting the Multi-Sports PAck.