Dish vs. Sinclair: No, There’s Nothing New

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Q. I want to watch the Mavericks and Rangers now that they are back and playing. But Dish still doesn’t carry Fox Sports Southwest. Is there anything new in this ridiculous fight? — Eddie, Fort Worth, Texas. 

Eddie, I’ve received several e-mails from Dish subscribers since Major League Baseball began its 2020 season last week, five months after the league suspended it because of the Coronavirus pandemic. The e-mails all ask if there’s anything new in the Dish-Sinclair negotiations to return the 21 Fox-branded regional sports networks to the satcaster’s lineup.

The answer is no, alas. There is nothing to report. Both companies are tight-lipped about the talks and there’s really nothing new to share with you. I am only writing this because there is clearly considerable interest in seeing the channels return.

The Fox regional sports channels have the in-market rights to air the games of dozens of MLB and NBA teams (the NBA’s season resumes this week) so patience is wearing thin among sports fans in the Dish audience.

The blackout began in July 2019 when the old pact between Dish and the channels expired. Sinclair Broadcasting assumed ownership of the channels shortly after that (buying them from Disney) and that was followed by several months of occasional name-calling between the two companies.

Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen seemed to break the ice last February, saying he liked Sinclair as a company, and suggesting a deal might be reached when his company’s agreement to carry Sinclair’s local stations expired. It’s unclear exactly when that local station pact expires, but it’s thought to be within the next month or so.

Eddie, I wish I could tell you more, but I will continue to monitor the progress of the talks and report back here if anything changes.

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— Phillip Swann
@swanniontv

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