It's a threat to both Dish and ESPN.
ESPN loses $5 or so plus the charge for its other networks x 14 million each month, not a paltry sum at current rates. Even MORE if other Disney/ABC channels are tied into all of this.
Dish loses some customers, but not very many if it is a short term take down. With folks under contract you won't lose those folks, and others won't just run right out and cancel, they'll wait it out a few days.
Danger for ESPN is that other systems do the same and leverage what Dish is doing and support it.
Also, consider this - at a charge of about $70M a month (14M x 5), even if Dish pulls it off on Tues 10/1 and restores it on Sat 10/5, how much will Dish save in just this time period? What's on ESPN the 1st week of October during the weeknights? Thurs has Texas @ Iowa State in football. I can't see much else that's happening.
You've got the MLB playoffs going on TBS and Fox.....so will anyone be watching ESPN this week or the next? Or even the next week?
I think its the perfect time to for Dish to force ESPNs hand.
I would be shocked if Charlie and company did not have a master theory somewhat along these lines. ESPN has rarely been taken down and a $70M hit for just a month or a week would be a huge hit.