TV Answer Man, is there anything new with Dish and the Bally Sports channels. You said the negotiations would have to start in the summer. Well, summer is almost over so what’s going on?!! — David, Phoenix.
David, Dish has been without the 19 Bally Sports regional sports channels (formerly known as the Fox Sports regional sports channels) since July 26, 2019 when the satcaster could not reach a new carriage agreement with their then-owner, Disney. Since then, Disney has sold the channels to Sinclair, and they were renamed this year as the Bally Sports regional sports networks.
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley has acknowledged that Dish’s contract with his company’s 100 plus local channels is scheduled to expire this summer. Both Dish and Sinclair have hinted that the negotiations for the local channels would include the regional sports channels as well. Ripley has even said it won’t allow Dish to offer the locals without carrying the sports channels. (This dispute also affects Sling TV, the Dish-owned live streaming service.)
With summer roughly half over, I’ve recently received several e-mails from readers asking if the Dish-Sinclair negotiations are underway and whether a new agreement has been reached.
Well, there has not been a new agreement yet, but Sinclair’s Ripley yesterday confirmed that Dish’s pact to carry his company’s local channels is set to expire on August 15. However, the executive was tight-lipped on the progress of the talks during the company’s analyst call following the release of its second quarter report.
“So you are correct in terms of timing related to Dish,” Ripley said when asked by a financial analyst if the Dish-Sinclair agreement expires on August 15. “And it’s our policy not to comment publicly on ongoing negotiations. So I can’t really give you more color on that.”
So it looks like August 15 could be D-Day, as in decision day. Will Dish and Sinclair reach a comprehensive new agreement that will include the local channels and Bally Sports channels? Or will the August 15 deadline trigger a new blackout of the Sinclair locals?
Stay tuned. The TV Answer Man will continue to monitor this situation and report back here if anything changes.
Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann