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Saturday, May 18, 2024

Sinclair’s Dish Deal Doesn’t Include Regional Sports Networks

  • Sinclair reached a deal with Dish Network to broadcast 144 local stations.
  • However, the deal does not include 21 regional sports networks.
Bally Sports/Design: Alex Brooks

Sinclair Broadcast Group reached a deal to keep 144 local stations across 86 markets on the Dish Network, with one major set of exceptions: 21 regional sports networks are not included in the pact.

However, the Tennis Channel, which Sinclair bought for $350 million in 2016, is included in the package.

The deal reconnects two major providers of linear programming, as companies recalibrate to a world with fewer and fewer cable subscribers. The two sides had been without a contract since August. 

The set of RSNs — rebranded as the Bally Sports Regional Networks —  have pinballed to different owners in recent years.

  • The RSNs were valued at $20 billion in 2019 when Disney bought them from Fox. 
  • Those same channels were valued at $14 billion, including $3.5 billion for the YES Network, when Disney sold them to Sinclair in a deal that was completed in August of that year.
  • The RSNs have been unavailable to Dish customers since July 2019, putting strain on the high-yield debt Sinclair used to finance the purchase of those channels.

YouTubeTV dropped the RSNs in September 2020, and Hulu followed suit the next month.

Bally’s bought the naming rights to the networks, formerly held by Fox Sports, in November 2020 in a 10-year deal reportedly worth $85 million.

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