TV Answer Man, I read your story about DIRECTV and Bloomberg and when that blackout might end. What about the Dish blackout of the AT&T SportsNet channels and Root Sports. We already miss not having Root here in Seattle on our dish. — Olive, Seattle.
Olive, as you know, Dish last week 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. (Note: Dish also does not carry the other AT&T-named regional sports network, AT&T SportsNet Southwest.)
So when will Dish settle this dispute, you ask?
Dish, which does not carry most regional sports channels, is a vocal critic of their economic model. The satcaster says a relatively small number of subscribers watch the RSNs, but the channels demand carriage fees equivalent (or higher) to channels with far more viewers.
Consequently, Dish wants to offer the channels on a la carte basis rather than in programming bundles so only the people who watch would have to pay for them. But the RSNs reject this approach because it would mean fewer subscribers, and therefore, fewer carriage dollars. (Pay TV services pay the channels based in large part on how many people subscribe to them; channels in bundles have the most subscribers.)
“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.”
And therein lies the standoff. It’s not likely that Dish will budge from its position anytime soon, and it’s not likely the RSNs will, either.
Olive, wish I could be more hopeful. You might want to check out DIRECTV Stream, or DIRECTV, both of which carry the AT&T SportsNet channels, and Root.
Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann