Q. I was happy to see Dish settle their big fight with the NFL Network, but I was trying to remember all the blackouts they still have. Which channels are they still missing? Seems like a lot. And do you expect any of them will return soon? — Vic, Colorado Springs, Colorado.
Vic, you’re right. Dish, and its live streaming service, Sling TV, on Sunday settled their nearly three-month-old fee fight with the NFL, returning both the NFL Network and the Red Zone Channel to their lineups.
In addition, nine days ago, Dish and Sling agreed to a new contract with Scripps to carry its 60 local network affiliates after a six-week blackout.
Both deals were good news for Dish and Sling TV subscribers, but they are still missing numerous channels due to five other carriage battles, some of them extending more than a year.
If you’ve lost track of which channels are still blacked out on Dish and Sling, here they are:
HBO & Cinemax
Dish and Sling have been without the two premium networks since November 2018 because of a carriage disagreement with their owner, AT&T. At this point, there seems to be no end in sight and I wouldn’t be surprised if HBO and Cinemax never return.
Sinclair-Owned Regional Sports Channels
Dish and Sling lost the Fox-named (but Sinclair-owned) 22 regional sports channels in July 2019. At the time, Disney owned the channels, but was in the process of selling them to Sinclair, which now owns them. Again, there seems to be no progress in the talks – if there are any talks, that is. But Dish will have to negotiate a new deal for Sinclair’s local network affiliates in the coming months and that could trigger a settlement for the regional sports channels.
Dish lost Altitude Sports, the Colorado-based regional sports channel, in September 2019 when the companies couldn’t decide on new terms. Since then, there has been considerable name-calling back and forth, and Dish has established a web page devoted to its grievances regarding Altitude.
14 Apollo Global/Cox Media Stations
On July 22, 2020, Dish and Sling lost 14 local network affiliates owned by Apollo Global Management in a carriage dispute between the two companies. The stations are managed by Cox Media. Dish and Apollo are engaged in a lawsuit as well, making a settlement a bit complicated.
28 Mission Broadcasting Stations
Dish and Sling last Friday night lost 28 local network affiliates due to a carriage dispute with their owner and/or manager, Mission Broadcasting. Dish and Mission have been fighting for months, minus a respite during the Coronavirus outbreak, so I don’t expect an imminent settlement here, either.
Vic, hope that helps. Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann