Charter has announced that it has signed a multi-year agreement with the Sinclair Broadcast Group to continue carrying its 100 plus local stations, 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks (RSNs), Marquee Sports, the Yes Network and the Tennis Channel.
Terms of the agreement were not disclosed, but it comes after a series of short-term pacts that allowed Charter’s Spectrum TV service to keep Sinclair’s channels while negotiations continued.
The long-term agreement is a major victory for Sinclair which has battled to force pay TV providers to carry both its local stations and regional sports channels. (The local channels are considered more important to a pay TV audience while the RSNs are watched by a smaller percentage of viewers.) Dish last year signed a multi-year agreement with the broadcaster which included the local channels, but not the RSNs.
Live streamers Hulu Live, Sling TV, YouTube TV and Fubo TV also do not carry the Bally Sports channels. (DIRECTV Stream is the only live streaming service that does.)
The Charter deal should help Sinclair finance its Bally Sports cord-cutting app which the company says is coming sometime this quarter. The app will enable sports fans to watch their in-market Bally Sports team without a subscription to a cable, satellite or live streamer such as DIRECTV Stream.
Sinclair says the initial launch will include at least five Major League Baseball teams (Sinclair now has digital rights deals with Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Miami Marlins, Milwaukee Brewers and the Tampa Bay Rays) with NHL and NBA teams added to the app in the second half of the year.
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— Phillip Swann