Cable Companies Issuing $1B in Refunds from Leagues, RSNs

    • By the end of 2020, as many as 6.6 million households are likely to cut the cord.
    • This article was first published in the FOS Daily Newsletter. Subscribe here.

Pay-TV providers like AT&T, Verizon and Charter Communications could be paying out as much as $1.1 billion in refunds and credits to their subscribers, as the companies still charged sports programming fees while the COVID-19 outbreak put a stop to thousands of events. 

Rebates to subscribers come after months of cable providers collecting insurance settlements and refunds from leagues and regional sports networks.

Show Me The Money:

  • Verizon was the first of its competitors to announce rebates on bills.
  • Charter will credit at least $218 million back to subscribers at an estimated $14 each.
  • In addition to bill credits, Dish Network Corp. will be giving free replacement sports coverage to affected subscribers. 
  • AT&T customers who paid for RSN coverage from April to July will be given “courtesy adjustments” based on the full amount the company retrieves from the sports networks. 

Cord-cutting continues: The pandemic could lead more consumers to cut the cord, adding to the challenges cable companies are facing. 

  • By the end of 2020, as many as 6.6 million households are likely to cut the cord, according to research firm eMarketer. 
  • Only 77.6 million subscribers will keep paying for cable, a 7.5% drop year-over-year — the highest one-year drop on record. 
  • Since 2014, 23% of households have cut the cord. 

By 2024, eMarketer estimates that an additional 15.4 million households will cut the cord, with more than one-third of all households being off of pay TV.