TV Answer Man, what is going on with the Dish and the Sinclair stations? It seems like there should be a resolution by now, right? Did they settle and not tell us? — Gina, Fairfax, Virginia.
Gina, they didn’t settle. Trust me, if they had, they would have told us. But there are a few reasons why this dispute is taking so long to resolve, and why it might come to a head this week.
To begin, Sinclair announced on August 9 that Dish was “likely” to lose its 100 plus local TV stations on August 16 because the current agreement would expire then, and the two sides were too far apart to agree on a new pact.
This was alarming to Dish subscribers not only because they might lose the network affiliates, but it appeared the satcaster would not resume carrying the Sinclair-owned 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs).
Dish has been without the RSNs since July 2019 due to a separate carriage dispute, and Sinclair officials have maintained publicly that they would not permit the satellite service to get them back without a new deal for the local stations.
The situation appeared so bleak that some publications, including the wire service, Reuters, ran headlines saying Dish would definitely lose the Sinclair locals. There was no ‘likely’ to it.
However, when August 16 popped up on everyone’s calendar, Sinclair revealed that it had reached a short-term extension with Dish. The broadcaster did not say how long the extension was, but Sports Business Journal reported a week later that they had signed yet another extension that would take the deadline to mid-September.
Which brings us to this week, doesn’t it? Wednesday is the month’s actual mid-point (September 15).
So, will this be the week we learn the fate of the Sinclair locals, and those coveted RSNs?
Stay tuned. The TV Answer Man will report back here if anything significant changes. Until then, happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann