Dish announced tonight that it has lost AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh and Root Sports Northwest in a carriage dispute.
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh is the TV home of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Pittsburgh Penguins while AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain carries the regional broadcasts of the Colorado Rockies, Utah Jazz and Vegas Golden Knights. Root Sports is the TV home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Kraken, and Portland Trailblazers.
Dish does not carry the other AT&T-named regional sports network, AT&T SportsNet Southwest.
“The current RSN model is fundamentally broken,” Brian Neylon, Dish’s group president, said in a statement. “This model requires nearly all customers to pay for RSNs when only a small percentage of customers actually watch them.”
Dish alleged that the three regional sports channels “are demanding rates that would be passed on to nearly every customer, whether they watch RSNs or not. This inequitable model has become antiquated due to the rise of a la carte viewing options and specialized streaming services.”
Dish has been a vocal opponent of the economic models of regional sports networks and does not carry other RSNs such as Bally Sports and the NBC Sports regional nets. (Dish is currently negotiating a possible new pact with Sinclair, the owner of the Bally Sports channels.)
The three regional sports networks have yet to issue a statement on the dispute and Dish’s charges. The TV Answer Man will update this article if and when they do.
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— Phillip Swann