x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Golf tournament taken off satellite, fans are disappointed

On Tuesday, just two days before the start of the tournament, subscribers to Orbit Showtime Network's (OSN) sports packages were left with blank screens.

DUBAI // Sports fans have been left angry after a television network stopped carrying two popular American sports channels just days before the beginning of a major golf tournament.

With the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, now in full swing, golf fans had been looking forward to catching the competition on Fox Sports.

But on Tuesday, just two days before the start of the tournament, subscribers to Orbit Showtime Network's (OSN) sports packages were left with blank screens as the company took both the standard and high definition Fox Sports channels off the air.

In addition to golf, Fox offers coverage of the NHL, NFL and Major League Baseball.

Some subscribers said they received text messages a week ago warning them of the change, but many others did not.

"I can only speak for myself but what is most disappointing is that they just did this and didn't say they were going to do it," said Dave Zack, a Canadian businessman in Abu Dhabi.

He said he had not received any notification from OSN that the channels would no longer be part of the package.

"I called the customer service at OSN [yesterday] morning and was told in a very matter of fact way that the channels were off the air.

"The Masters is probably the most important championship of the year and it's something that my whole family gets involved in, so it's really disappointing not to be able to watch it," he said.

Mr Zack, who watches all the American golf tournaments, said he would now cancel his subscription to OSN.

"What annoyed me more is the arrogant attitude OSN have had towards it.

"If they had said it was a business decision, as a customer I would have accepted it," he said.

He is now researching alternative ways to watch the competition and said he will most likely have to settle for poorer quality video streaming online.

The text message sent to some OSN subscribers on March 29 said: "Starting 1st April 2012 Orbit Showtime Network (OSN) will discontinue Fox Sports SD and HD. These channels will therefore no longer be part of your TV package. We apologise for any inconvenience."

OSN did not respond to requests for comment.

Fox channels, and Masters coverage, will now be available on Etisalat's e-life package, on channel 571, and on Du on channel 539.

nhanif@thenational.ae