Satcaster sponsors Scott Speed car to get around Fox's ad ban

Dish Network has found a high-octane route around the Big Four networks’ ban on ads for its controversial Hopper DVR service, which has sparked litigation between the satcaster and the broadcasters.

Dish is sponsoring a car in Sunday’s Daytona 500 race, to air live on Fox. Ballyhoo for Hopper will be emblazoned on Leavine Family Racing’s No. 95 Dish Ford Fusion, piloted by Scott Speed.

“The world of technology moves fast, but Fox keeps trying to wave a yellow flag and put consumers under caution, attempting to slow their access to the best in TV entertainment,” said Dish prexy-CEO Joe Clayton. “The Hopper is in the pole position as the fastest in the consumer technology race.”

Fox would comment on Dish’s move but said in a statement: “Fox Sports will put all its energy into covering the Daytona 500 in the same extraordinary way we approach every event we televise.”

The Big Four have sued Dish in an effort to halt aspects of the Hopper, including a function that allows viewers to remove commercial breaks from recorded programming and the option of recording large blocks of primetime programming en masse. All of the broadcast networks have refused to take primetime blurbs for Hopper. The next-gen DVR also generated headlines in January at CES, when CBS forced its CNET news org to reverse its decision to give it the Best in Show kudo because of the ongoing litigation. CES wound up trumping CBS’ veto and giving the kudo to Hopper.

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