TV Answer Man, if baseball comes back. If! I want Dish to carry my local Bally Sports channel that has the Diamondbacks on it. Do you think that is possible by opening day? Or at least sometime this season? — Mark, Scottsdale, Arizona.
Mark, Dish has been missing the 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (including Bally Sports Arizona, TV home of the Arizona Diamondbacks) since July 2019 (when they were known as the Fox Sports RSNs) due to a carriage dispute. The carriage row first occurred when Fox owned them, but they are now owned by the Sinclair Broadcast group.
There was hope that Dish and Sinclair would settle the fee fight last year when the two companies were negotiating a separate pact for Sinclair’s 100 plus local network affiliates. However, while a deal was reached for the local stations, the Bally Sports channels were not included.
So is there anything new to suggest Dish and Sinclair could return to the bargaining table and settle the Bally Sports blackout before opening day? Ot, at least, sometime during the 2022 MLB season?
Sinclair CEO Chris Ripley was asked this week about Dish and the Bally Sports channels and here’s how he explained why Dish has not agreed to bring them back.
“Dish was an outlier and they had dropped the RSNs before we owned them. And they’ve been off for two years. And so they also don’t have a bundle offering. And so there’s a lot of differences. And they’re also very rural. So they’re outside of the fan zones that care the most about these teams,” Ripley said.
If you were counting, that was at least four reasons why Dish isn’t interested in carrying the Bally Sports channels, according to Ripley. That doesn’t sound like Sinclair has much hope that they will ever return to Dish, much less by opening day.
Basically, Dish, as it has stated publicly, does not believe that regional sports channels are a good value for his customers and his company. (The satcaster is currently not carrying any regional sports channels.) Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen says the carriage fees of the RSNs are too high while viewership is relatively low.
Sorry, Mark. If you want to watch your local Bally Sports channel as a Dish subscriber, you’ll have to hope Sinclair follows through on its promise to offer the channels in-market as a separate service later this year. That would allow you to subscribe directly to Bally Sports without need of a cable or satellite sub. You can see this article for more details.
Hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
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