Dish last night lost NESN, the TV home of the Boston Red Sox and Boston Bruins, in a carriage dispute. The departure means that the satellite TV service now does not carry a single regional sports network, having previously lost the NBC Sports RSNs, the AT&T RSNs, the Bally Sports RSNs and MASN, among others.
The satcaster has sent e-mails alerting affected subscribers in the six New England states where NESN’s local game broadcasts were available. In a message posted on its Dish Promise page, Dish accused regional sports networks of asking for excessive carriage fees, a complaint it has made previously when it lost other RSNs.
“The current Regional Sports Network model is fundamentally broken as it requires nearly all customers to pay for these channels when in fact only a small percentage of customers watch them,” Dish states. “As the cost of these channels continue to escalate, we no longer think it makes sense to include them in our TV lineup.”
Dish would prefer to offer the regional sports nets a la carte which would permit subscribers to pay for them only if they ordered them separately from their programming bundles. However, the RSNs have rejected this concept because it would mean they would be available in fewer homes, which would reduce their carriage fees.
“DISH has offered multiple solutions to keep NESN on your service which would provide the best value to all our subscribers,” the company’s post says. “We have offered NESN to be part of select DISH programming packages – they refused. We have also offered NESN to be a separate stand-alone package, similar to premium channels like HBO or Showtime – they refused this as well.”
NESN has not issued a statement as of *;47 a.m. ET today.
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— Phillip Swann