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NFL Network reaches settlement with Dish Network to end lawsuit

NEW YORK -- The NFL Network and Dish Network announced a settlement Friday that ends a lawsuit over how the satellite provider broadcasts the channel.

The agreement includes a multiyear deal for Dish to continue carrying NFL Network. Terms of the settlement weren't disclosed.

"We are very pleased that our NFL Network will continue to be distributed in millions of homes on Dish Network," NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement released by the league's network.

In January 2008, Dish moved the channel from its most widely distributed 100-channel package to the second-most widely distributed 200-channel tier. The company claimed the NFL violated its contract the previous month when it simulcast the historic New England Patriots-New York Giants game on CBS and NBC.

The two sides had amended their original deal in 2006 when the network began airing live regular-season games. That agreement moved NFL Network from the 200-channel to the 100-channel package and resulted in Dish paying higher licensing fees.

Dish claimed the contract reverted to the original deal when the NFL simulcast the game in which the Patriots became the first team to go 16-0 in the regular season, because that violated an exclusivity clause. The league disagreed and filed suit one month later, asking the New York Supreme Court to compel Dish to honor the amended contract.

NFL Network will remain in the 200-channel package under Friday's settlement.

"The NFL Network is a great complement to our programming lineup and we are pleased to offer the channel to our subscribers," Dish CEO Charlie Ergen said in the statement.

Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press

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